The quest for cost-efficient local government in New England: what role for regional consolidation?
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, many local governments have experienced significant financial strain. Local governments? financial challenges are likely to continue in the foreseeable future, as federal deficit-reducing measures trigger cuts in state and local aid and as all levels of government struggle to fund their medical and retirement obligations. In an effort to maintain service provision without significant tax increases, many cities and towns will be forced to consider a variety of cost-cutting measures, including joint service provision with other localities. ; This ...
The Bank of North Dakota: a model for Massachusetts and other states?
In 2010, Massachusetts legislators considered whether to create a state-owned bank as a means to address concerns about credit availability and other economic challenges stemming from the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2007-09. In 2011 a commission was established to investigate the feasibility of setting up such an institution. This research report informs the work of that commission. ; The report provides an in-depth examination of the only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND). It discusses BND?s history and current operations, and analyzes the degree to ...
Achieving greater fiscal stability: guidance for the New England states
This report considers the New England states? past preparedness for revenue downturns caused by business cycle fluctuations and assesses policy actions that could promote greater fiscal stability in the future.
Does Springfield receive its fair share of municipal aid? : implications for aid formula reform in Massachusetts
This paper examines the distribution of unrestricted municipal aid in Massachusetts, which has been a major concern to civic leaders and elected officials of many communities, including Springfield. The paper develops a measure of the municipal fiscal gap indicating the relative need of municipalities for state aid. The analysis shows that in recent years, unrestricted municipal aid has not been distributed in proportion to the gap measure among the 10 largest cities in Massachusetts. For example, despite having the largest municipal gap, Springfield received almost the lowest per capita ...
Tax reform in newly emerging market economies
Unlike the American Revolution, which started with cries of "no taxation without representation," the overthrow of political and economic systems in Central and Eastern Europe did not have taxes at its forefront. Under socialism, taxes had been invisible to much of the population. They were part of an elaborate framework of central planning, rather than a separate, distinguishable element in the lives of typical citizens. ; This article examines how tax structures have fared in the context of broader changes in Central and Eastern Europe. It investigates the extent to which these tax ...
What past recoveries say about the outlook for New England
New England lagged behind the national recovery in the mid 1970s but did better than average coming out of the 1982 recession. The regions strong recovery after 1982 was the result of increased defense contracts, a high-tech export orientation, and the waning of the 1970s energy price shock. What do those experiences suggest about the pace and character of the present recovery? ; Regression results indicate that the most important determinants of a states recovery are how well its key industries perform nationally, relative wage and energy cost changes, and the fiscal picture. New Englands ...
Labor markets and earnings inequality : a status report
Laid-off workers in a time of structural change
Labor markets have undergone considerable change in recent years. Manufacturing positions are shrinking, especially in blue-collar occupations, and real wages for workers with little education are declining. A rising share of unemployment is accounted for by workers who have been permanently laid off.> This article uses data on workers displaced from Massachusetts companies in the early 1990s who sought government-provided reemployment assistance to examine, first, their duration of unemployment and then, for those who found work, their new wages and other job attributes. The evidence shows ...
Effects of state and local public policies on economic development: an overview
The use of state and local public policy as an instrument of economic development is more controversial than ever. Profound technological and political changes have enhanced the geographic mobility of capital and extended firms' geographic range, intensifying competition among states and localities. At the same time, demand for state and local public services continues to rise, while impending reductions in federal aid compound the states' fiscal dilemma.> Caught between conflicting long-run fiscal pressures, state and local policymakers have sought advice on which policies are most ...