IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedbwp/08-1.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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

Author

Listed:
  • Bo Zhao
  • Katharine L. Bradbury

Abstract

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 aid in filling the gap and hence effectively treat communities receiving greater amounts of existing aid more favorably than communities receiving less or no existing aid. As a fairer alternative, the authors propose a new approach that considers existing and new aid within a consistent framework by taking account of both in filling the gap. In addition, unlike previous research that focuses only on a single year’s new aid distribution, the authors simulate the dynamics of aid distributions over multiple years and examine their evolution over time. The authors further provide and compare several possible solutions to addressing the possible tradeoffs between short-term and long-term goals. Although the proposed aid formula is designed for municipal aid and tailored to Massachusetts, the authors note that foundation aid formulas for education implicitly treat existing aid in the same way and suggest that the framework, principles, and policy recommendations might also be applicable to other states designing new municipal aid formulas. ; Also issued as New England Public Policy Center Working Paper, 08-2

Suggested Citation

  • Bo Zhao & Katharine L. Bradbury, 2008. "Designing state aid formulas: the case of a new formula for distributing municipal aid in Massachusetts," Working Papers 08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:08-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2008/wp0801.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/wp/wp2008/wp0801.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ladd, Helen F. & Yinger, John, 1994. "The Case for Equalizing Aid," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 211-24, March.
    2. Katharine L. Bradbury & Bo Zhao, 2007. "Measuring disparities in non-school costs and revenue capacity among Massachusetts cities and towns," Working Papers 06-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Ladd, Helen F. & Yinger, John, 1994. "The Case for Equalizing Aid," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(1), pages 211-224, March.
    4. Yinger, John, 1986. "On fiscal disparities across cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 316-337, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Municipal finance - Massachusetts ; Municipal finance ; Local finance - Massachusetts ; Local finance;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:08-1. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbbous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.