The tax base of the Commonwealth’s 51 cities and towns is a critical component of the Commonwealth’s fiscal health. For many cities and towns, property taxes are the largest funding source, providing revenues to pay for teachers, police, firefighters, public works like trash pick-up, and many other local resources and services.
Local aid, primarily in the form of Chapter 70 education aid and Unrestricted General Government Aid, is the second largest source of municipal revenue. The balance of municipal revenues is generated through a variety of other “local receipts,” which include motor vehicle excise taxes, service fees and local options taxes on hotel accommodations, meals, and recreational marijuana.
MTF examines how state finances impact the fiscal health of cities and towns. Recent reports have focused on education funding and municipal health care costs.
Each year, MTF publishes its Municipal Finance Data report (MFD). The MFD is MTF’s compilation of basic financial information for each of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns. In addition to comparing communities’ expenditures, revenues, tax rates, debt, and other characteristics, this booklet includes statewide totals for key municipal financial statistics over the last ten years and emerging trends in municipal finance.