Water, water everywhere: dare I drink a drop? (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Given New England?s ample rainfall, green forests, and extensive wetlands, many of the region?s inhabitants might question the notion that it faces potentially severe water shortages. Yet, parts of the region already confront such shortages. These shortages are likely to spread, absent corrective action. This paper describes the characteristics of New England responsible for its looming water problems, identifies areas within the region most vulnerable to such problems, and analyzes alternative strategies for alleviating them. Small, shallow, porous aquifers are the region?s primary ...
The lack of affordable housing in New England: how big a problem?: why is it growing?: what are we doing about it?
Although housing costs in greater Boston and elsewhere around the region have leveled off, affordable housing is still high on the public policy agenda in every New England state. A growing chorus of employers and policymakers are warning that the region's high cost of housing is now undermining its ability to attract and retain workers and businesses. This paper presents a thorough, region-wide analysis of the housing affordability problem in New England. We construct three affordability indicators to examine differences in the cost of housing across socioeconomic, demographic, and ...
Measuring fiscal disparities across the U. S. states: a representative revenue system/representative expenditure system approach, fiscal year 2002
States and their local governments vary both in their needs to provide basic public services and in their abilities to raise revenues to pay for those services. A joint study by the Tax Policy Center and the New England Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston uses the Representative Revenue System (RRS) and the Representative Expenditure System (RES) frameworks to quantify these disparities across states by comparing each state?s revenue capacity, revenue effort, and necessary expenditures to the average capacity, effort, and need in states across the country for fiscal year 2002. ...
Are state government debt levels too high?
Taking charge: should New England increase its reliance on user charges?
New England relies less on user charges for its state and local revenues than any other region of the country. As a result, some policymakers maintain that increases in user charges would correct an "imbalance" in the regions revenue mix. However, the national mix of state and local revenues is not necessarily the best mix for the states of New England. The degree to which a state should rely on u. ser charges depends on the priorities of its policymakers among competing principles of taxation, the conditions under which each principle favors user charges over taxes, and the extent to ...
Cyclical swing or secular slide? Why have New England's banks been losing money?
Are the losses recently incurred by New Englands banking industry symptomatic of chronic excess capacity that will depress the industrys profitability even after the regions economy recovers from its current recession? Or can the industry restore its profitability by ridding itself of the extraordinary costs resulting from its large overhang of bad loans? This article maintains that the industry is not "overbanked" and that its underlying profitability will eventually reemerge. In support of this contention, the article provides estimates of the "normal" profitability of New Englands ...
How dependent are New England's mid-sized firms on the region's largest bank holding companies?
The degree to which mid-sized firms--the "middle market"- depend on large regional banks for short-term credit is an issue particularly relevant to New England. If this dependence is heavy, then the recent consolidation among the regions large bank holding companies could be forcing its mid-sized firms to accept short-term credit on uncompetitive terms. The dependence of New Englands middle market on the regions banking institutions as a whole, both large and small, is also of concern. The greater this dependence, the more vulnerable are the regions mid-sized firms to sharp contractions ...
State response in New England to federal tax reform
Rating Massachusetts' tax competitiveness