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 ...
How does New Hampshire do it?: an analysis of spending and revenues in the absence of a broad-based income or sales tax
This report seeks to understand how New Hampshire has avoided a broad-based income or sales tax by examining the factors that drive the state?s lower-than-average per capita spending and the revenue sources the state relies on to pay for that spending in lieu of an income or sales tax. It presents comparative data for the six New England states and discusses some of the impediments faced by other states in the region interested in emulating New Hampshire's fiscal model. ; The author finds that New Hampshire's below-average spending is due to a combination of policy choices and favorable ...
Reaching the goal: expanding health insurance coverage in New England: current strategies and new initiatives
As the number and percentage of people without health insurance continues to climb, the goal of expanding such coverage is even more pressing. Traditional strategies have had only limited success. And with little movement at the federal level, states have chosen to enact their own bold initiatives. Four New England states - Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont - have recently passed or implemented programs to expand health insurance coverage, some with the goal of achieving near-universal coverage. By combining different strategies from across the political spectrum, the new ...
Racial and Socioeconomic Test-Score Gaps in New England Metropolitan Areas: State School Aid and Poverty Segregation
Test-score data show that both low-income and racial-minority children score lower, on average, on states’ elementary-school accountability tests compared with higher-income children or white children. While different levels of scholastic achievement depend on a host of influences, such test-score gaps point toward unequal educational opportunity as a potentially important contributor. This report explores the relationship between racial and socioeconomic test-score gaps in New England metropolitan areas and two factors associated with unequal opportunity in education: state equalizing ...
Mismatch in the labor market: measuring the supply of and demand for skilled labor in New England
Over the past decade, policymakers and business leaders across New England have been concerned that the region?s slower population growth and loss of residents to other parts of the U.S. will lead to a shortage of skilled labor?particularly when the baby boom generation retires. Even with the current economic downturn, there is a recognized need to ensure that there is a sufficient pipeline of skilled workers to fill their region?s high-growth, high-demand jobs when the economy recovers. This means not only having a sufficient number of skilled workers, but also a workforce with the right mix ...
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. ...
Assessing the affordability of state debt
State governments commonly issue debt to finance the construction of roads, schools, and other investments in infrastructure that are important for economic growth and competitiveness. While borrowing funds can facilitate these investments, there is also a danger in allowing debt to grow unchecked. If debt service is too high, it can crowd out other public spending or else necessitate burdensome taxes or fees. Policymakers thus must carefully balance a state's capital needs with efforts to keep debt levels affordable. This report highlights some considerations faced by policymakers or ...
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 ...
Reintegrating the ex-offender population in the U.S. labor market: lessons from the CORI Reform in Massachusetts
Policymakers have proposed and enacted policies that seek to limit the negative consequences that a criminal record imposes on ex-offenders, their families, and society at large. Some states have changed how criminal records are accessed and governed in the interest of removing unduly burdensome barriers to employment for some ex-offenders. Between 2010 and 2012, Massachusetts enacted the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reform, changing access guidelines for criminal records and preventing employers from inquiring about criminal history on an initial application for employment. ...
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.