• Patrick stands alone in support of wind farm

    Lowell Sun
    In the first debate of the gubernatorial campaign last night, Gov. Deval Patrick stood out as the lone voice of support for the Cape Wind project that would bring the nation’s first offshore wind farm to Nantucket Sound.

    Republican Charlie Baker, independent Tim Cahill and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein, however, all criticized the contract signed between Cape Wind and National Grid that would charge 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour for energy produced by Cape Wind, a rate nearly double the standard power rates.

    Both Baker and Cahill endorsed nuclear power as a more cost-efficient option.

    The exchange took place at a forum sponsored by MassINC and Suffolk University that focused exclusively on environmental issues.

  • Patrick, rivals clash over Cape wind farm

    The Boston Globe

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker came out swinging at Governor Deval Patrick yesterday afternoon in a debate on clean energy, calling the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound “a sweetheart deal’’ among the state, Cape Wind, and the utility National Grid that is purchasing half of its power.

    Patrick’s two other challengers also criticized his handling of the project he vigorously supports.

    Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein faulted what she called his administration’s lack of transparency in overseeing Cape Wind’s power contract and said the governor has taken campaign contributions from executives of companies associated with the proposed 130-turbine wind farm.

    The exchanges over the wind farm made for a rousing — and, at times, humorous — first debate of the campaign season among all four candidates. Yesterday’s debate, sponsored by MassINC, was held at Suffolk University.

  • Gov. Candidates Spar Over Cape Wind, Energy

    Channel 5- WCVB

    Incumbent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick was the lone candidate to defend a planned wind farm off Cape Cod at a gubernatorial debate Monday focused on the future of renewable energy in Massachusetts.

    Patrick’s top challengers, Republican Charles Baker and independent state Treasurer Timothy Cahill, argued against the project.

    Although the debate, sponsored by the public policy think tank MassINC and Suffolk University, focused on renewable sources of energy like wind power, the candidates were also asked about other forms of power, including nuclear.

  • Foes hit Gov. Deval Patrick on wind project

    Boston Herald

    Gov. Deval Patrick’s three challengers yesterday slammed his plan to build wind turbines off Cape Cod, casting the $2 billion project as a no-bid boondoggle and warning it could mushroom into Bay State’s next Big Dig.

    “This is a monstrous big bet,” said GOP gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker during an hour-long debate on the clean energy project, which he called a “sweetheart deal.”

    Even clean energy-friendly Jill Stein, running for governor on the Green/Rainbow ticket, sounded an alarm during the hour-long smackdown before about 300 people at the C. Walsh Auditorium at Suffolk University.

    Yesterday’s debate was sponsored by MassINC, a good-government think tank.

  • Candidates talk Wind at gubernatorial forum yesterday

    Boston Herald

    Incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick came out as the lone candidate in favor of Cape Wind yesterday, as Green Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein distanced herself from the $2 billion energy project citing the no-bid contract with developer Jim Gordon, and a lack of transparency with respect to costs.

  • Candidates Debate Energy Issues

    Worcester Telegram & Gazette
    Republican Charles D. Baker and independent candidate Timothy P. Cahill attacked Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s programs to promote wind and solar energy as too costly, during an energy debate yesterday. Both said they favor increased use of nuclear power. 

    The strong endorsements of expanding reliance on nuclear power came as the candidates for governor met for a debate sponsored by the nonprofit group Mass Inc. and by Suffolk University. Also included was Green Rainbow candidate Jill Stein.

  • At Gubernatorial Debate, Patrick Defends Cape Wind


    Cape Wind, the Nantucket Sound wind energy development, is in the final stages of review by the Department of Public Utilities. A decision is expected this fall, while Gov. Deval Patrick is still in office. But his opponents in this fall’s gubernatorial race say they would chart a different course for the state even if Cape Wind is approved.

    The issue highlights stark differences in the approach each candidate takes on energy and the state’s role in promoting a “green” future — and those differences took center stage in a Monday debate sponsored by MassINC.

    Patrick stands alone on this issue in the governor’s race. Even Green-Rainbow party nominee Jill Stein says building Cape Wind’s 130 wind turbines under the proposed contract is a bad idea.

    State Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who is running as an independent, agrees the contract is flawed. But unlike Stein, who would rewrite the deal, Cahill rejects Cape Wind outright because says the power it generates would be too expensive as compared to other sources. 

  • Mass. Governor Candidates Debate Energy


    BOSTON — Massachusetts’ four gubernatorial candidates debated alternative energy sources on Monday in Boston.


    The candidates specifically discussed the topic of the controversial Cape Wind project.


    “On balance I am in favor of Cape Wind and strongly so. I think it’s good for us from an environmental point of view, from an energy point of view, from an economic point of view,” said Governor Patrick.


    The other candidates, however, said they don’t back the Wind project.

  • Gubernatorial candidates debate Cape Wind project

    The controversial Cape Wind project is front and center in the Massachusetts Governor’s race. The four candidates mostly stuck to the issues during a debate. 

    Neither Republican Charlie Baker nor Independent Tim Cahill have kept their feelings about the proposed Cape Wind project a secret in this race for Massachusetts governor.

    The three squared off along with Green-Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein at an issues debate specifically focused on Cape Wind, sponsored by MassINC and CommonWealth magazine held at Suffolk University Monday.

  • Green power costs shouldn’t be in the dark

    The Boston Globe
    Green power curbs greenhouse gas emissions, reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, and has the potential to create new industries and jobs. But it’s not cheap, and consumers footing the bill for green power have a right to know what it costs.

    All too often the price tag is either not disclosed at all or hidden in plain sight on customer utility bills, buried inside charges for power generation and distribution. NStar, as part of its obligations under the state’s Green Communities Act, recently asked state regulators to approve three wind-power contracts the utility signed after a lengthy bid process.

  • CW’s Bruce Mohl and Michael Jonas appear on The Emily Rooney Show

    CommonWealth Editor Bruce Mohl and Executive Editor Michael Jonas appeared on the Emily Rooney Show on WGBH radio today to discuss the new special issue of CommonWealth on Energy and the Environment.  Listen here.  You can also read the new issue in full here.

  • The art of saving a city

    The Boston Globe

    PITTSFIELD — City of art, city of funk. The SoHo of the Berkshires, the Brooklyn of the Berkshires.

    The sobriquets urban planners bestow upon this bygone manufacturing hub speak of their confidence that Pittsfield can become a center of culture and entertainment on par with Lenox and Stockbridge and Williamstown.

    “To the city’s credit, it realized that it needed to embrace the arts and culture of the creative economy that the Berkshires has been known for,’’ said John R. Schneider, executive vice president of MassINC, a public policy research organization. “Things have bottomed out, and they’re beginning the turnaround, and the rebranding of the city has taken root. The jury’s still out on what the employment prospects will be down the road.’’

  • Mohl on Broadside with Jim Braude

    Here is a link to CommonWealth editor Bruce Mohl’s appearance on Broadside to talk about the gambling impasse on Beacon Hill. The host of Broadside, a New England Cable News show,  is Jim Braude.

  • House bill seeks $50M to help revitalize Gateway Cities like Lowell

    The Lowell Sun

    BOSTON — Cities like Lowell that were once the economic engines of the state are now getting renewed attention as lawmakers look to revive these once-vibrant communities.

    A package of reforms aimed at spurring economic development across the state includes several provisions targeted specifically at the “Gateway Cities.”

    The House yesterday approved the economic-development package that originated in the Senate, tacking Gateway Cities initiatives onto the bill. The legislation will now go to conference committee in hopes of getting a final package approved before the end of the month.

  • New bill aims to brige gap for Gateway Cities

    Legislation offering financial incentives for residential and commerical development in so-called Gateway Cities, such as Fitchburg and Leominster, is scheduled for debate this week on Beacon Hill.

    The original legislation was rolled into the House of Representatives’s economic-development bill to be considered Wednesday.

  • CW’s Alison Lobron on WBUR

    CW’s Alison Lobron appeared on WBUR’s Radio Boston Friday to talk about recent developments in the race for governor and President Obama’s meeting with Scott Brown.  Listen here.

  • Economic efforts lauded

    The Berkshire Eagle

    Creative economy officials from across the state campe together at the Colonial Theatre on Friday to praise Pittsfield’s redevelopment efforts and discuss the steps that are needed for improvements.

    The meeting is one of four that will be held throughout the state by MassINC, a nonprofit think tank that uses non-partisan research, civic journalism and public forums to stimulate debate and shape public policy.

    Click here for a photo gallery of the event.

  • CommonWealth magazine plays increasingly important role as government watchdog

    Wicked Local Mass Markets

    As a publication owned by a nonprofit organization (Boston think tank MassINC), CommonWealth is a shining local example of a growing trend in an era of steep cost-cutting at the country’s big major metro papers. Nonprofit news-gathering organizations are often picking up the slack, particularly with time-consuming investigative pieces.

    CommonWealth has long been considered a must-read by the state’s political elite, even if it felt like homework at times (think of the magazine as the subtitled art-house flick to the Boston Herald’s popcorn blockbuster).

    But CommonWealth editor Bruce Mohl, a former Globe consumer reporter, has worked to liven up the pages since taking the job two-and-a-half years ago – and to break big investigative stories the way a daily newspaper would.

  • CWs Bruce Mohl on Broadside with Jim Braude

    NECN – Broadside

    CommonWealth magazine Editor Bruce Mohl appeared on NECN’s Broadside with Jim Braude last night to discuss patronage in the state probation department.  He was joined by State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Democratic analyst Michael Goldman.  Watch the video here.

  • Rogoff Addresses Funding Backlog at Boston Summit

    Passenger Transport

    In his keynote speech at “Next Stop: A Summit on the Future of Transit,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter M. Rogoff explained that the figure is part of a new report to be released in the near future, which covers 690 U.S. rail and bus systems. This report follows a 2009 study of the seven largest U.S. rail operators, which showed a $50 billion figure for bringing the systems into a state of good repair—not, he emphasized, restoring them to pristine new condition.

  • Boston isn’t the only metropolis combating mass transit troubles

    The Boston Globe

    Crumbling rail ties. Faulty power systems. Dirty stations. Balky escalators. Reduced train speeds. Yawning deficits. Demands to expand, even when there isn’t nearly enough money to maintain the current system. Sound familiar?

    It’s the story of the T . . . and of just about every other public transportation system in the country. Leaders of five of the nation’s biggest (and oldest) transit agencies — numbers two, four, five, six, and nine in ridership — gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston last week and swapped stories about the shared pressures and challenges they face.

  • The search for a national solution to our transit woes

    The Boston Globe

    RED SOX and Yankees fans can agree on one thing — how to get to the game. In New York, about 45 percent of ticketholders take public transportation. In Boston, more than 50 percent of ticketholders take the T — a percentage higher than any other professional sports franchise in any city in the country. Yet, even as hundreds of thousands pour into rail cars each season, most are unaware that the trains are running on empty.

  • CW on Broadside

    Jack Sullivan 

    CW senior investigative reporter Jack Sullivan joined Jim Braude on NECN’s “Broadside” to discuss the MBTA’s failing concrete railroad ties and the state of investigative journalism.   Here’s the link.


  • Study Brockton residents among those using high cost financial services

    The Patriot Ledger

    MassINC, a non-profit research group that did the study, estimated that the residents of its 11 designated “gateway cities” incur at least $38 million in check-cashing fees annually. Of that amount, Brockton incurs $3.5 million, the group said.

    Add to that figure the financial toll from tax-refund loans – which slap interest and fees on its customers – and the total amount incurred from these high-cost financial services soars to about $72 million annually for all 11 cities — $7.1 million in Brockton, according to MassINC.

  • Fewer bank accounts in Gateway Cities

    Boston Business Journal
    Brockton is among the state’s so-called “gateway” cities where residents are more likely to use high-cost financial services such as hock shops and check-cashers rather than traditional banks, the Enterprise reports, citing a study by MassINC.

  • Study examines impact of fees for check cashing and tax refund anticipation loans on local economies

    Springfield Republican
    Holyoke customers pay $3.1 million a year in fees to those same high-cost businesses, including $1.6 million for check-cashing, according to the study “Going for Growth.”

    “It’s a loss of income that could be used to build up these communities,” said study co-author Benjamin Forman, research director at the institute, a Boston-based think tank known commonly as MassINC.

    In Springfield, Forman and his team have estimated using national data that check-cashing fees alone cost customers $5.8 million a year.

  • Study says many in ex-mill areas lack bank accounts

    The Boston Globe

    MassINC said residents in 11 of the state’s former mill cities are less likely to have traditional bank accounts than most Bay State residents, forcing them to turn to costly alternatives such as check-cashing facilities.

    Specifically, MassINC found the so-called Gateway Cities, such as Springfield, Holyoke, and Lawrence, are replete with check-cashing stores, pawn shops, rent-to-own stores, and auto title lenders that typically charge outsized fees and eye-popping interest rates. For instance, Springfield alone has 19 check cashers and six pawn shops listed in the telephone book, the report found, even though there didn’t seem to be a shortage of banks in the city.

  • MassINC Research Director on WFCR

    A study by the research firm MassINC finds that residents in nearly a dozen older, industrial Massachusetts cities are less likely than other state residents to have bank accounts. WFCR’s Bob Paquette spoke with Ben Forman, the Research Director at MassINC.  Listen here.

  • CWs Jack Sullivan on WRKO


    CommonWealth magazine’s senior investigative reporter Jack Sullivan appeared on the Charley Manning show on March 5th on WRKO.  Listen to the audio here.  The two spoke about the proposal to bring casinos and racinos to the Commonwealth.

  • Rich towns get ‘distressed’ status

    The Boston Globe

    A 2008 study by MassINC, a nonprofit research group in Boston, found that affluent suburbs landed many of the biggest, most desirable economic development projects subsidized by the program, such as high-tech manufacturing plants and research parks. By contrast, struggling communities often used the program for discount stores, fast-food restaurants, and other businesses that generally create few high-paying jobs.

    “It’s supporting high-value economic activity in affluent locations and marginal activities in low-income towns,’’ said Benjamin Forman, research director for MassINC.

    Read the full report.

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