State and Local Public Finance

Toward a New Grand Bargain: Collaborative Approaches to Labor-Management Reform in Massachusetts
October 2011
Toward a Grand Bargain

Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center & Thomas A. Kochan, George M. Bunker Professor of Management at MIT

This report underscores the need for a new labor-management relations system in the public sector, particular in areas such as public education. More importantly, the report offers specific, concrete solutions for creating a new collaborative system.


The Potential for Uneven Economic Development across Massachusetts Municipalities: An Analysis of the Role of Property Taxation and State Local Aid
November 2007

Barry Bluestone, David Soule, Chase Billingham, Marc Horne, Lauren Nicoll

A report released by the Dukakis Center focusing on ways to improve the economic vitality in Massachusetts by combining smarter taxation methods, increased investment in education and creative marketing strategies to attract new employees to the Bay State.

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Revenue Sharing and the Future of the Massachusetts Economy
January 2006

“Revenue Sharing and the Future of the Massachusetts Economy” determined that the future economic prosperity of Massachusetts is dependent on increasing the fiscal capacity of cities and towns.

The report acknowledges that certain variables, such as cost of living and climate, will continue to disadvantage the Commonwealth in its competition for workers and business investment. But this can be addressed by recognizing that economic development turns increasingly on the ability of local communities to compete in the regional, national and global economy by offering vital public services and high-quality public amenities.

It concludes that Massachusetts must re-craft the fiscal partnership between the state and local governments if municipalities are to play their critical role in economic development, and recommends three steps towards achieving this goal:

  • A new and enduring revenue sharing partnership,
  • Diversifying the local tax and revenue structure, and
  • Increasing local management authority.

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Local Communities At Risk: Revisiting the Fiscal Partnership Between the Commonwealth and Cities and Towns
September 2005
Report by the Municipal Finance Task Force

The Municipal Finance Task Force was created by the Metro Mayors Coalition to review trends in municipal finance and local aid, to understand the impact of such trends on municipal budgets and services, to enable municipalities to develop strategies and policies to better navigate these trends, and to provide recommendations to municipal leaders, the Legislature and the Executive Branch.

Alan Clayton-Matthews served as a key member of the Task Force and provided a substantial amount of the research.

Building on our Heritage: A Housing Strategy for Smart Growth and Economic Development
October 2003

This report was developed at The Dukakis Center for the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, an ad hoc group of housing advocates, developers, business and civic leaders, and academics who began meeting in 2001 to develop solutions to the housing problem in Massachusetts. In this report, the Task Force made two recommendations:

  • The state should provide financial and other incentives to local communities that pass Smart Growth Overlay Zoning Districts that allow the building of single-family homes on smaller lots and the construction of apartments for families at all income levels.
  • The state should increase its commitment to fund affordable housing for families of low and moderate income.

Barry Bluestone, director of the Dukakis Center, worked with Eleanor White, a Research Associate at the Dukakis Center and president of Housing Partners, Inc. and Ted Carman, president of the Concord Square Development Company, Inc., to craft this proposal. This team, along with many others from the business, academic, and non-profit world, presented the proposal to the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Housing Committees in late November. The proposal was passed into law in 2004.

To download the full report, click here.

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Economic Revitalization: Cases and Strategies for City and Suburb
Joan Fitzgerald and Nancey Green Leigh. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2002

A discussion of leading revitalization strategies in the context of both city and suburban settings, offering case studies of program development and implementation. The text incorporates social justice and sustainability into how we think about and practice economic development. It discusses how revitalization strategies are implemented in both cities and suburbs, particularly inner-ring suburbs that are experiencing decline previously associated only with inner-city neighborhoods.

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