Municipal Finance

Our reports on municipal finance track Worcester’s revenues and expenditures and its financial condition on a yearly basis, sometimes offering recommendations for increasing revenues and decreasing expenditures.

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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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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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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Bureau Brief—Worcester’s Unfunded OPEB Liability

The City of Worcester, like most municipalities, has struggled with outstanding pension and other post-employment benefit (OPEB) liabilities. While the City is engaged on a plan to fund its pension obligations by 2032, there is no plan in place to address the more than $727 million owed for OPEB, which mainly consists of retiree health care costs.

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