State foreclosure prevention efforts: mediation and financial assistance
Housing foreclosure activity in the United States and New England increased dramatically at the beginning of the housing crisis in 2006 and remains elevated. Given their economic and social costs, policymakers have developed a number of policies designed to prevent foreclosures. In recent years, state and local policymakers in New England have implemented two major foreclosure prevention policies: foreclosure mediation programs and financial assistance programs. This report reviews these two foreclosure prevention programs in the New England region. It explores how they are funded, weighs ...
Reading the fine print: how details matter in tax and expenditure limitations
At least 30 states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, operate under ?tax and expenditure limitations? (TELs): formula-based budgeting requirements that apply specific limits to expenditures, appropriations, or revenue collections by state or local government. More than a dozen states considered TELs in 2006. Legislation proposing a new TEL to further limit General Fund appropriations in Rhode Island was introduced; Maine citizens will vote on a more restrictive TEL this November. ; Several factors, including a desire for lower taxes and a belief that additional ...
Water, water everywhere: dare I drink a drop? (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Given New England?s ample rainfall, green forests, and extensive wetlands, many of the region?s inhabitants might question the notion that it faces potentially severe water shortages. Yet, parts of the region already confront such shortages. These shortages are likely to spread, absent corrective action. This paper describes the characteristics of New England responsible for its looming water problems, identifies areas within the region most vulnerable to such problems, and analyzes alternative strategies for alleviating them. Small, shallow, porous aquifers are the region?s primary ...
Medication-assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rhode Island: Who Gets Treatment, and Does Treatment Improve Health Outcomes?
Since the early 2000s Rhode Island has been among the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. In response, the state has made it a priority to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), which refers to the use of the FDA-approved medications methadone, buprenorphine, and/or naltrexone in conjunction with behavioral therapy. MAT is strongly supported by scientific evidence and endorsed by US public health officials and yet fails to reach many OUD patients. Using administrative data covering medical treatments and selected health outcomes for more than ...
Achieving greater fiscal stability: guidance for the New England states
This report considers the New England states? past preparedness for revenue downturns caused by business cycle fluctuations and assesses policy actions that could promote greater fiscal stability in the future.
Population aging and state pensions in New England
This Research Report analyzes the features of the New England state pension plans in the context of the region's changing demographic environment. The first section of the report documents key demographic developments: the aging of the Baby Boom generation and increasing life expectancies. Key features of the primary state pension plan in each New England state are then compared, focusing in particular on the age-specific characteristics of the plans. A third section analyzes the labor market implications of the plans' formulas, such as how they apply to workers choosing retirement at ...
The potential economic impact of increasing the minimum wage in Massachusetts
In this report I review the arguments on both sides of the issue. In doing so, I discuss and critique, where applicable, the evidence presented in the two reports that have been issued on either side of the debate. I also produce my own projection of the likely impact of raising the minimum wage on aggregate employment and wages. These calculations use the two reports as a baseline, modifying some of the assumptions to better reflect evidence supported by the economic literature. According to my estimates, the current proposal to increase the minimum wage could have a negative impact on ...
The Bank of North Dakota: a model for Massachusetts and other states?
In 2010, Massachusetts legislators considered whether to create a state-owned bank as a means to address concerns about credit availability and other economic challenges stemming from the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2007-09. In 2011 a commission was established to investigate the feasibility of setting up such an institution. This research report informs the work of that commission. ; The report provides an in-depth examination of the only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND). It discusses BND?s history and current operations, and analyzes the degree to ...
Consequences of state disinvestment in public higher education: lessons for the New England states
Public higher education produces many benefits that are vital to the New England economy, but it is increasingly at risk following years of state budget cuts. States have reduced funding for higher education to address short-term budget gaps caused by recessions and long-term budget gaps attributed to the growing costs of Medicaid and public pensions. Research in this report shows that reductions in state appropriations have resulted in higher tuition and fees, greater student loan debt, decreased resources for education and research, and fewer graduates and approved patent applications from ...
The impact of migration on earnings inequality in New England
Migration plays an important role in the New England economy; absent immigration, the region?s population and workforce would have shrunk in recent years. Yet increasingly, immigrant inflows have been met with legislative opposition at both the national and regional levels, motivated in part by concerns that immigration may be an important factor driving the marked rise in earnings inequality. The research findings presented in this report, however, indicate that immigration accounts for a very small portion?only 6.0 percent?of the rising earnings inequality that the region has experienced. ...