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The Boston Globe


edward l. glaeser

Towns have too much power, but not the power they need

What good is there in having scores of publicly managed micro-hedge-funds dotting the Commonwealth? In Massachusetts, while state law mandates the terms of public pensions paid by local governments, local investment boards still manage their portfolio decisions. This makes little sense. Local investment boards have little upside, and have historically earned lower returns. There is certainly a place for local experimentation in pension matters, but the management of pension funds isn’t it.

We’re in the middle of a much bigger debate on political centralization. Europe must decide whether countries will cede further fiscal and regulatory powers to a central authority, or whether individual nations like Greece will regain control of their currency. Within our Commonwealth, Boston chafes under the limits that the state places on its ability to tax restaurant meals and issue liquor licenses.

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