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 ...
The changing housing market: a bang or a whimper?
The U.S. housing market has had an extraordinary 15-year run in terms of prices, sales of existing homes, and new construction, especially on the East and West Coasts. Beginning in the spring of 2006, however, the housing market began to turn distinctly downward. We know that 2005 was a good year and that 2006 has not been such a good year, and we see indications that 2007 could be tough. To help understand why the market has shifted from hot to, at a minimum, cool, this paper, which is the first in a series of NEPPC policy briefs on housing, recaps some of the factors that contributed to ...
Retaining recent college graduates in New England: an update on current trends
This policy brief presents some basic facts about the retention of recent college graduates and changes in retention over time. It considers how New England compares with other divisions, what factors affect its ability to retain graduates, and the reasons why recent college graduates choose to leave New England. It also highlights a Boston-area initiative to promote internships as a retention tool.
Crowded out of the housing market: declining affordability and availability are squeezing New England's very low-income households
Though many New Englanders find it difficult to buy and maintain a home or pay monthly rent, the problem is particularly acute for the region's very low-income households. While many reports about housing affordability focus on the growing affordability challenges faced by middle-income households, they often overlook a crucial problem in the region: very low-income households--those in the bottom fifth of the income distribution are squeezed by declining affordability and limited availability.
Lasting connections: using internships to retain recent college graduates in New England
This policy brief discusses one promising short-term strategy for retaining the region's recent college graduates: expanding the use of internships within the region to help college students?including non-native?learn more about local job opportunities. The brief summarizes analysis in NEPPC research report 08-1: The Future of the Skilled Labor Force in the Region: The Supply of Recent College Graduates.
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.
Small employers and expanded health insurance coverage
New England states have been national leaders in developing and enacting health insurance programs. But as the new laws play out on real ground, various constituencies are seeing real or perceived devils in the detail of the expansion laws. For one group in particular?small employers?efforts to extend coverage have become a two-edged sword.
An overview of Chapters 40R and 40S: Massachusetts’ newest housing policies
In creating Chapters 40R and 40S, policymakers recognized that respecting local concerns in the pursuit of statewide goals was a more effective strategy than mandating or regulating behavior. While the jury is still out on how effective 40R and 40S will be, moving from regulation to incentives is a commendable step for housing policy in the Commonwealth.
Evaluating business tax credits: reading between the lines
This policy brief provides guidelines for critically evaluating and interpreting empirical studies of state business tax credits. This brief summarizes analysis in NEPPC discussion paper 09-3: State Business Tax Incentives: Examining Evidence of their Effectiveness.