The New England rental market
New England?s rental prices are high but relatively affordable to most residents.
The fiscal capacity of New England
New Englanders may demand high levels of government services, but their underlying need for public service provision remains quite low, and they tend to be able to better afford the costs of these services relative to the rest of the nation. As a result, the region?s state and local governments face relatively less pressure to raise taxes or increase spending in order to achieve a basic level of public services, and constituent preferences may play a larger role in the fiscal decisions that New England policymakers make.
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 ...
Revenue forecasting processes in New England
State governments creating their budgets are concerned about available revenues. The basis of a successful budget is a sound revenue forecast. How states arrive at this forecast is both a science and an art and the approach differs markedly among states. This policy brief responds to the dearth of readily accessible information about states? revenue forecasting processes by describing, comparing, and contrasting the revenue forecasting processes of the New England states.
A guide to state debt affordability studies: common elements and best practices
Policymakers must carefully balance a state's capital needs with efforts to keep debt levels affordable. To help weigh these competing concerns, a number of states routinely prepare formal debt affordability studies. By exploring the purpose of such studies, their common elements, and best practices, this policy brief aims to provide guidance to states that are developing or re-examining their own debt affordability analyses.
The middle-skills gap: ensuring an adequate supply of skilled labor in northern and southern New England
Recent evidence suggests that a mismatch between the skills demanded by employers and the skills supplied by the population may be underway, particularly for ?middle-skill? workers who possess some college education or an associate?s degree. This policy brief examines the middle-skill mismatch in New England, comparing recent labor market trends and future projections for the northern versus southern subregions. The analysis finds that the nature of the mismatch varies within the region, indicating that policymakers should tailor their potential responses as opposed to taking a uniform ...
GASB 45 and other post-employment benefit promises : the fog is clearing
It is often said that you won?t get rich working for the government, but you can?t beat the benefits. One form of these benefits is ?Other Post-Employment Benefits"(OPEB), which represent government promises to employees to provide health care and other non-pension benefits after retirement. Government employers commonly use these benefits to attract talent in lieu of large salaries or bonuses and to provide future security to employees. Until now, governments have also been able to apply preferential accounting treatment to OPEB plans, which allowed deferral of the costs of today?s ...
Reforming municipal aid in Massachusetts: the case for a gap-based formula
This policy brief evaluates the distribution of municipal aid in Massachusetts in FY 2011 and suggests an approach for reforming municipal aid without redistributing current aid. We use the ?municipal gap,? a measure that is outside the control of local officials, to determine a community?s need for municipal aid. To show the general pattern of municipal gaps across the state, we compare five prototype communities -- large cities, job-center suburbs, higher-income residential suburbs, rural towns, and resort towns. The analysis shows that the distribution of FY 2011 municipal aid does not ...
Who are the uninsured, and why are they uninsured?
Since 2000, the number of uninsured Americans, both nationally and in New England, has risen by nearly 20 percent. In 2005, 46.6 million Americans and 1.5 million New Englanders lacked health insurance. For millions more Americans, the prospect of losing coverage is a tangible and real concern.
Ensuring adequate electrical capacity in New England
A settlement accepted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 15, 2006, may finally resolve years of disagreement over how to increase New England?s electrical capacity. The final settlement was signed by 107 of the 115 parties negotiating for four months to create a forward capacity market for electricity in the region. Despite such strong support, however, several important parties oppose the plan, and its economic impact on the region is not yet clear.