State and Local Finance

As the Commonwealth and its municipalities face a growing problem in financing government operations as a result of increased funding needs and periodic national economic crises, the Dukakis Center has stepped up its research in the area of public finance. In 2006, with funding from the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA), the Center undertook a major study: “Revenue Sharing and the Future of the Massachusetts Economy”. This study demonstrated the crucial role that local municipalities play in attracting business investment and jobs and linked the success of individual communities to their ability to fund local services through a combination of local property taxes and state revenue sharing. It provided a new rationale for state aid to older industrial cities with small property tax bases and made the case for maintaining a strong commitment to state aid.

Working with the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, in 2007 the Center undertook a further study of municipal finance considering the burden of property taxes in older industrial cities. This study demonstrated that if the Commonwealth did not have a strongly redistributive local aid program the economic gap between older industrial cities and other municipalities would grow dramatically.

State and Local Finance Research Team:

  • Barry Bluestone, Team Leader
  • Alan Clayton-Matthews, Team Leader
  • Joan Fitzgerald
  • Stephanie Pollack

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