Cost of Living and Consumer Affairs

Home loan segregation

A study of home mortgage lending in Massachusetts provides yet another window on racial segregation in Massachusetts. The study, by the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council, found blacks in 2015 received either no home loans or one loan in nearly two-thirds of the 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. In just over 40 percent of the(...)

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Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Environmental group raises concerns about proposed demand charge

Eversource is proposing special charges for customers with solar installations to make sure they pay their share of the cost of operating the power grid. The proposed charges are contained in Eversource’s rate filing, which is under review at the state Department of Public Utilities. The utility says the charges are needed because many solar(...)

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Home wreckers

Home wreckers

A state program designed to help homeowners deal with contractors gives a false sense of protection.

Photographs by Mark Morelli FOR MOST HOMEOWNERS, their house is their past, present, and future, the hard shell around their nest egg. That shell requires regular attention and occasional investment, and that means hiring home improvement contractors to keep everything shipshape. For many homeowners, finding the right contractor is a process that can trigger a(...)

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Out-of-network billing  surprises

Out-of-network billing surprises

Patients get charged for unexpected services not covered by their insurance

MARYLOU SUDDERS, the state’s secretary of health and human services, was going through some paperwork for her late sister when she came across a bill from a doctor for thousands of dollars that wasn’t covered by insurance. Sudders says the bill included charges for services that would have normally been paid by her sister’s insurer(...)

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Kinder Morgan’s pipe dream is economic nightmare

Kinder Morgan’s pipe dream is economic nightmare

CLF positions on T fare hike, natural gas are consistent

THE JANUARY 22 opinion piece (“CLF’s contradictory philosophies”) by Anthony Buxton, an attorney for the energy company Kinder Morgan, argues that the Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) policy positions on MBTA fare hikes and electric consumer-funded natural gas pipelines are somehow contradictory. The problem with Attorney Buxton’s argument is that increasing gas pipeline capacity would neither(...)

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On housing supply, the more things change…

To understand what holds back the state’s economy, and what causes young families who are otherwise drawn to Massachusetts life to flee for greener pastures, check out this piece by Jay Fitzgerald from the Sunday Globe. The biggest threat to the state’s economy is not taxes and business regulation but the sky-high cost of housing,(...)

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Social Security recipients deserve more

Social Security recipients deserve more

Pay for benefit increase by ending corporate bonus loophole

What follows is a slightly edited version of a message Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent out on Thursday to supporters via email. Three weeks ago, the Social Security Administration made a quiet announcement. Next year, for just the third time since 1975, seniors who receive Social Security won’t be getting an annual cost of living increase.(...)

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Carrying the Bay State’s water

Although Massachusetts is currently experiencing a moderate drought, the Bay State is unlikely to experience water problems of California-sized proportions. But the Bay State does have a major water problem, it’s just one that most people can’t see. The US Environmental Protection Agency recently projected the nation’s drinking water infrastructure needs and found that Massachusetts would need(...)

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