State laws to blame for lack of minority contracting

Ben Forman featured in CommonWealth Magazine

August 23, 2022 IN THE EARLY DAYS of the pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program offered a crucial lifeline for millions of suddenly desperate businesses. Yet as banks doled out nearly $1 trillion in PPP money, minority-owned businesses were at the back of the line. It was a glaring example of how even the most well-intentioned public

Schoenberg joining CommonWealth

Spent last 7 years at Republican/MassLive

VETERAN STATE HOUSE REPORTER Shira Schoenberg is joining the staff of CommonWealth magazine later this month. She will be replacing Andy Metzger, who moved to Philadelphia at the end of 2019. I hope she will be the first of several hires as the magazine looks to expand its reach and coverage and develop innovative ways

Walsh calls for big boost in school spending

Commits $100 million in anticipation of new state aid

BUOYED BY FLUSH city coffers and a new law promising more state education aid down the road, Mayor Marty Walsh said he will commit $100 million in new annual city spending to the Boston Public Schools. The announcement came during Walsh’s annual State of the City speech, delivered Tuesday night at Symphony Hall, and marks

Advocates call for T control board extension

Aloisi: ‘It’s a mistake to change horses in midstream’

SOME OF THE STATE’S  leading transit advocates are calling for extending the life of the existing MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board for six months to a year and making buses free across the state. On the TransitMatters Codcast hosted by CommonWealth magazine, Jim Aloisi, the former transportation secretary and TransitMatters board member; Josh Fairchild, the

With education bill-signing, cheers and challenges

State now must maintain funding and ensure it’s well spent

AFTER YEARS OF false starts and Beacon Hill standoffs on a growing funding crisis that has seen school districts shed hundreds of teachers and pare back vital curriculum offerings to balance budgets, Gov. Charlie Baker signed landmark legislation on Tuesday committing the state to $1.5 billion in new aid to Massachusetts schools.  There was a

In Mass., white pols dominate state and local politics

Study proposes even-year elections for muni races

THE PREDOMINANCE OF white male politicians in positions of power in Massachusetts may be a symptom of the way elections are run, according to a report released Wednesday entitled MassForward. The report recommends addressing the lack of minority representation in state and local government through reforms big and small, from relieving legislative staffers from the often

T board approves commuter rail vision

Calls for subway-like service on ‘most dense corridors’

THE MBTA’S OVERSIGHT BOARD unanimously approved five resolutions on Monday designed to start transforming the state’s commuter rail network into more of a subway-like system with electrified trains arriving every 15 to 20 minutes on the “most dense corridors.” The initial phase of what could be a decades-long process, according to the resolutions, would be

Commuter rail group backs big expansion

Advisory panel urges broadest, most expensive option

A 25-MEMBER ADVISORY GROUP that has been studying the future of commuter rail for the last 18 months presented a fairly united front to state transportation officials on Monday, calling for an electrified regional rail system that offers riders more frequent service throughout the day. T officials had assembled six different options for policymakers to

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