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Keywords:Local finance - Massachusetts 

Saving costs through regional consolidation: public safety answering points in Massachusetts

As local governments seek to address growing financial challenges, many will consider a variety of cost-cutting measures, including joint service provision with other localities. This policy brief examines the potential savings from large-scale service-sharing arrangements, using the specific example of emergency call handling and dispatch in Massachusetts. The analysis finds that consolidation can significantly reduce costs, and recommends that state policymakers consider options to encourage local consolidation. ; This policy brief builds on the Center?s 2013 research report, ?The Quest for ...
New England Public Policy Center Policy Brief

Working Paper
Measuring disparities in non-school costs and revenue capacity among Massachusetts cities and towns

This paper develops new measures of environmental costs and local revenue capacity as the basis for a new municipal aid formula in Massachusetts. On the cost side, unlike previous studies, we quantify the effects on local non-school spending of characteristics related to uncontrollable costs. On the capacity side, we account for the constraints of a tax limitation, for the first time in the literature, by estimating these constraints as a function of residents? incomes. The estimates of costs and capacity indicate substantial inter-local fiscal disparities in Massachusetts. Our approach is ...
Working Papers , Paper 06-19

Working Paper
Designing state aid formulas: the case of a new formula for distributing municipal aid in Massachusetts

This paper designs a new equalization-aid formula based on fiscal gaps of local communities. Using conceptual analysis and simulations with Massachusetts data, the authors illustrate the tradeoffs that policymakers face in deciding on the policy variables in the formula and lay out several general guidelines for setting up these variables. When states are in transition to a new local aid formula, the issue of whether and how to hold existing aid harmless poses a challenge. The authors show that previous studies and the formulas derived from them give differential weights to existing and new ...
Working Papers , Paper 08-1

Working Paper
The fiscal impact of potential local option taxes in Massachusetts

This paper examines the potential impact of local-option taxes on meals, general sales, income, and payroll on revenue-raising capacity in Massachusetts municipalities. It finds that, while new local-option taxes would generate considerable additional revenues from untapped sources, revenue capacity is not evenly distributed across municipalities. Indeed, local-option taxes are likely to exacerbate fiscal disparities, because municipalities with low existing revenue-raising capacity often lack the tax bases for new local-option taxes. Policymakers could consider increasing equalizing state ...
New England Public Policy Center Working Paper , Paper 10-2

Measuring non-school fiscal imbalances of New England municipalities

Local jurisdictions differ in the per capita costs that they must incur to provide a standard quality and quantity of municipal services at average efficiency. These cost differences are attributable to local social and economic characteristics or circumstances that are outside the control of local government.
New England Public Policy Center Policy Brief , Issue Jul

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 ...
New England Public Policy Center Research Report , Paper 13-1