We commend Massachusetts’ elected officials for recommending the first increase in unrestricted local aid in five years. This increase would provide budget relief for every community in the Commonwealth, which would further strengthen the partnership between state and local communities.
This may be a good opportunity for policymakers to consider a new formula to distribute new local aid funds in a more equitable manner than giving every community an equal-percentage increase, regardless of their fiscal conditions. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center’s 2010 working paper, “Does Springfield Receive Its Fair Share of Municipal Aid? Implications for Aid Formula Reform in Massachusetts” demonstrated how the state could reform its aid program to allocate more new aid to the most disadvantaged communities.