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A Research Bureau Policy Alternative: Tax Rates

In order to further the Worcester City Council’s deliberations on tax policy, The Research Bureau is pleased to present a White Paper on criteria for consideration in preparation of annual tax rate determinations and alternatives to secure a more equitable single tax rate.

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Worcester Almanac: 2017

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau is pleased to present the third annual Worcester Almanac—our compendium of information of all things Greater Worcester. A small, not-for-profit organization, The Research Bureau’s mission is to serve the public interest of Greater Worcester by con-ducting independent research and analysis of public policy issues to promote informed public debate and decision-making.

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Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB): Holding Government Liable

In Massachusetts, state and local government retirees are eligible for pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB), such as health care. Since these obligations are accrued daily but not due for decades in some cases, policymakers discount the cost and ultimately push the expense onto future generations.

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Bureau Brief — Tax Increment Financing

In Massachusetts, municipalities have limited tools to entice businesses to locate and expand in a weak marketplace. The most frequently used alternative is the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) and its tax increment financing (TIF) initiative.

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Tax Classification: Passing the Buck$

Since 1984, the City of Worcester has set residents against businesses in an annual duel over property tax rates. As municipal budgets continue to grow, a zero-sum game exists in which a decrease in taxes on one property class necessitates an increase in taxes on another.

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Parking in Worcester: Left by the Curb

With over 5,000 public parking spaces in Downtown Worcester, parking – and its location, condition, design, and cost – is an important concern of municipal government. Parking in Worcester: Left by the Curb urges the City to elevate the discussion of parking by creating a Parking Division that reports directly to the Commissioner of Public Works & Parks.

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December of 2015 and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) first signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Like its predecessors, ESSA provides federal funding for elementary and secondary school students, emphasizes equal opportunity to learning, and sets high standards for achievement and accountability.

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The Massachusetts Foundation Budget

This primer is drawn from and summarizes the key findings and recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission. The report, issued 30 October 2015, represents more than a year of work by the 21 members of the Commission. Members and staff of the Commission are noted in Appendix B.

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