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Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitations in Massachusetts

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Douglas W. Elmendorf
  • Richard Zeckhauser

Abstract

We examine the effects of Proposition 2-1/2--a property tax limitation law approved by Massachusetts voters in 1980--and assess voter satisfaction with these effects. We find that the proposition had a smaller effect on local revenues and spending than expected, as a result of both amendments to the law and a strong economy. Voters in 1980 believed there was significant waste in local government, partly because of an inability to monitor local officials. Proposition 2-1/2 curbed these agency losses, but direct local override votes and municipal expenditure patterns imply that the proposition initially reduced spending more than voters wanted.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Richard Zeckhauser, 1997. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitations in Massachusetts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1997-47
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    Keywords

    Property tax ; Massachusetts;

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