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13th Annual State Competitiveness Report

Massachusetts, North Dakota again top ranked in BHI measure of economic growth and income: NH rises

BOSTON - (April 10, 2014) Massachusetts secured the top spot on the 13th Annual Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Index. Traditional strengths in human resources, technology and openness buoyed Massachusetts to the number one rank for the seventh time in nine years. New Hampshire rebounded to third place.

The BHI competitiveness index is based on a set of 46 indicators divided into eight sub-indexes – government and fiscal policy, security, infrastructure, human resources, technology, business incubation, openness, and environmental policy. The breadth of the BHI index distinguishes it from more narrowly-focused measures of competitiveness that target only taxes, high technology, or economic freedom.

North Dakota finished second, followed by New Hampshire, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Virginia. While the rankings in sub-index measures were far from uniform, states that paid attention to fostering a well-educated and healthy workforce scored well. It also helps for a state to be business-friendly with reasonable labor costs and an environment with consistent firm births and a culture of risk-taking. More

Complete Report 13th Edition (2013)

Press Release with Rankings (PDF)

Renewable Portfolio Standard for New Jersey

Study: New Jersey’s Renewable Energy Mandate is a Drag on the Economy

(Boston, MA) With one of the highest targets among states that mandate utilities to generate portions of their power from renewable sources, New Jersey has placed an unnecessary and costly economic burden upon businesses and residents that will continue to harm basic affordability, competitiveness and employment. That’s according to a new study released today by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston (BHI), which analyzed the economic impacts of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. More.

Complete Study

Press Release PDF


Response to Rep. Hunter of Washington State

Another day, another misfired STAMP critique.

Despite what people believe about models, they remain, in the absence of sound analysis, the best tool to assess the costs and benefits of tax policy changes. More.

Massachusetts State Tax Revenue Forecast

BHI Forecast: Driven by strong income growth, state tax revenues to rise this year and FY 2015

(Boston, MA) – The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI) estimates that Massachusetts state tax revenues will come in at $23.283 billion for Fiscal Year 2014, 5.3% above FY 2013. Meanwhile, revenues will be $25.132 billion for FY 2015, 7.9% above FY 2014.

The 7.9% increase for FY 2015 is largely driven by a surge in personal income. The New England Economic Partnership projects state personal income to increase by 6.0% in Calendar Year (CY) 2014 and 6.7% in CY 2015. Read more.

Complete Forecast (PDF)
Press Release (PDF)

Press Coverage: WBUR 12/11: Experts See Rising Tax Collections In Mass.

Response to Critique of BHI's Renewable Portfolio Standards studies

An Appeal to Facts in a “Fact Check”

In their attempt to defend subsidies for green energy, supporters rely on Keynesian arguments to promote policies that will provide much-needed spending in an economy. The assumptions made by advocacy organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists are likely to hold only in the short run, if at all. Other arguments often made by critics of BHI's RPS studies have failed repeatedly to address the underlying basics of economics. Ultimately, while BHI sets out to soundly operationalize the true costs and benefits of projects like wind energy, green energy advocates fail to adequately put the relevant numbers to their claims. Read A Response to the Union of Concerned Scientists Critique of BHI’s Renewable Portfolio Studies

What Really Matters in Economics

How to think about job creation and spending: A primer

Policymakers and opinion leaders across the political spectrum seek to increase spending in the economy via regulation. However, the popular view of the relationship between spending and how it relates to unemployment and inflation is often wrong. Both sides should recognize that the purpose of any regulation should be to maximize economic efficiency and growth rather than increasing spending to create jobs. If policymakers aim to eliminate slack in an economy, they should use other more direct and effective methods of reaching the optimal level of spending. In his new study, How to Think About Job Creation and Spending: A Primer, BHI adjunct economist Ryan H. Murphy disentangles the confusion.

Complete Study

State Budget Policy

Without cost saving reforms, public sector unions pose future liability crisis for states

(BOSTON - May 23, 2013) A one percentage point increase in the unionization of a state’s public sector workforce is associated with an additional $78 of state and local government debt per capita. Meaning, if a state’s public sector unionization were to fall from 50% to 49%, that is associated with a fall in the public debt by $78 per person living in the state. Thus states with higher public sector unionized workforces are more likely to face higher levels of state debt. These are the findings of a new study from the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University.

The Great Recession of 2008 left state and local governments exposed to structural deficiencies that threaten their ability to deliver basic public services in the future. For years, state and local governments took the easy path of not raising taxes or cutting spending to accommodate generous compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining.

The study first finds that a one percentage point increase in the unionization of public sector employees is associated with an additional $78 of state and local government debt per capita. For instance, 59.8 percent of public sector employees in Massachusetts are unionized. So, the strength of unions in Massachusetts leads to an additional $4,672.17 of state and local debt per person. With its population of 6,587,489 people, Massachusetts faces about $31 billion in debt. More than 31 percent of Massachusetts’s debt is attributable to the strength of public sector unions. Read more.

Press Release
Complete Study


Policy Study

BHI Study: MA public sector pension system puts taxpayers at risk

(BOSTON - February 25, 2013) Under current assumptions made by the Commonwealth, fully funding the three largest public employee pension funds would require the state to make the equivalent of mortgage payments of $1.3 billion a year for the next 30 years. Moreover, the taxes that would be required to meet this annual obligation would destroy jobs, investment and disposable income. This is the finding of a new study from the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University (BHI).

Macroeconomic conditions call into question the ability of the state to realize 8.25 percent returns for the funds that it manages. Viewing these unfunded liabilities as mortgage payments over the next 30 years offers a clearer perspective of the true costs to the taxpayer.

The vast change in the ratio of expected liabilities to expected assets, or unfunded liability, for these pension funds over the course of a period of underperforming years shows how the underlying assets and assumptions applied to these assets can create distinctly different predictions of the pension’s viability. More

Complete Study (PDF)
Press Release (PDF)

Policy Papers

Fiscally Illiberal: State and local projects cannot create jobs responsibly
Complete Paper (PDF only)





The Latest from BHI

New Jersey RPS a drag on state economy

BHI Statement on U.S. Employment Situation
March 2014: 6.7%

Current topics: From the BHI archives:
Don't raise the minimum wage; extend the state EITC instead
Worcester Telegram & Gazette 7/19/2013

Massachusetts Matters Inteview with David G. Tuerck on the VW Tennessee UAW vote

BHI Statement on MA. Employment Situation
January 2014: 6.8%

At Cato's Regulation Magazine
Murphy & Morales on Cape Wind

In the Media
Experts See Rising Tax Collections In Mass.

David Tuerck on the Government Shutdown

BHI response to public apology by Good Jobs First regarding the State Competitiveness Index

In the Media
Boston Business Journal
Cape Wind: An idea whose time has come and gone

In the Media
Human Events 7/1/13

What does it really mean
to create a job?

BHI Statement on new BEA data on MA GDP
Mass growth for 2012 trails CA, MN, TX (PDF)

From the Archives
What critics of the STAMP model get wrong

What is STAMP? A Primer

Energy Policy:
Renewable Policy: 'A Recipe for Decline (April 2013)

BHI testifies on RPS in Kansas Topeka Capital-Journal:
Experts debate renewable energy costs February 15, 2013

BHI Study on Arizona REST
Press Release PDF

Response to Huffington Post attack on BHI renewable portfolio studies

BHI Studies on State Renewable Portfolio Standards

State Revenue Forecast FY '13 & FY '14
Press Release

Health Care Reform:
Chapter 58

Studies on Chapter 58

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