This new center is consistent with a recommendation in our report entitled MassForward: Advancing Democratic Innovation and Electoral Reform in Massachusetts.
From the official announcement:
MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Feb. 13, 2020)–Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life today announced the creation of a new, non-partisan Center for State Policy Analysis (cSPA) to ensure that lawmakers and residents in Massachusetts have access to the best information on effective public policy.
cSPA will conduct detailed, independent analyses of current legislative issues and ballot questions in Massachusetts and will widely share this research with the public. The Center aims to partner with experts at Tufts University and beyond to provide real-time analysis that informs legislative debates and helps voters better understand the stakes of ballot initiatives.
Former Boston Globe data-journalist Evan Horowitz will serve as cSPA’s executive director, supported by an advisory council that includes:
- Governor Jane Swift, president and executive director of LearnLaunch;
- Governor Michael Dukakis, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University
- Alan Solomont, dean of Tisch College;
- Michael Widmer, former president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation;
- Michael Curry, deputy CEO & general counsel at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers;
- Katharine Craven, chief administrative officer at Babcock;
- Ted Landsmark, director of the Dukakis Center at Northeastern;
- David Cash, dean of the McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston;
- Carolyn Ryan, senior vice president for Policy and Research, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; and
- Kate Dineen, executive vice president, A Better City.
“With a history of policy leadership, and facing gridlock in Washington, Massachusetts has the opportunity to take the lead on issues like climate justice, transportation investment and healthcare,” said Alan Solomont, ambassador (ret.) and dean of the Tisch College of Civic Life. “Given our mission to study and strengthen civic life, and to promote the power of people and communities to bring about change, Tisch College is proud to host and support this nonpartisan center that can help lawmakers and citizens better understand policy issues and identify solutions.”
Working with academics and policy experts at Tufts and beyond, cSPA will produce leading research on key issues in Massachusetts political and civic life, including assessments of the economic, environmental, geographic, budgetary and equity implications of pending legislation and ballot initiatives.
“Having spent time in academia, at think tanks, and in journalism, I think there’s a real opportunity to start bridging these worlds—producing relevant, rigorous, readable research on a timeframe that works for policymakers,” said Horowitz. “Massachusetts is the perfect place to begin. The commonwealth has the richest collection of academic expertise in the world and a long history of pushing the bounds on policy innovation, from 17th-century public schools to 21st-century healthcare reform.”
In the coming months, cSPA plans to release:
- An analysis of the Transportation Climate Initiative, which would establish a regional cap-and-trade system for gasoline;
- A review of the options—and trade-offs—for addressing rising prescription drug costs; and
- Research on the projected impact of the fall 2020 ballot questions, potentially including right to repair, expanded sales of beer and wine in food stores, and ranked-choice voting.