Successful Property Tax Reform: The Case of Massachusetts
About this Course
This course examines the deep problems of the Massachusetts property tax in the 1970s and the subsequent reforms that created one of the most functional and fair systems in the United States. Course modules explore the state of the property tax system prior to reform; events leading up to the tax revolt and the assessment reforms; and elements of the reform that resulted in the state’s current well-functioning property tax system.
- Learn how Massachusetts reformed a flawed property tax system, characterized by inaccurate assessments and very high tax rates.
- Better understand elements of property tax systems that make them stable and fair.
- Learn how to implement best practices for meaningful reforms at the state and local levels.
- Gain knowledge necessary to develop property tax systems that are more efficient and equitable and garner public support.
Module 01: The Property Tax in Massachusetts: 1973–2008
This module delivers a detailed look at the assessment process in Boston in the 1970s and demonstrates the consequences of the city’s poor assessment practices, highlighting the economic and social benefits of the reformed property tax system.
Module 02: Property Tax Revolts and Assessment Reforms: The Massachusetts Story
This module provides a detailed, step-by-step description of Massachusetts’s path to property tax reform and illustrates that despite obstacles in the process, sustained commitment to improvement can yield successful results.
Module 03: The Boston Experience: How Elements of the Massachusetts Reform Coalesced into a Stable, Well-Functioning Local Property Tax System
This module reviews the evolution of the property tax in Massachusetts to better illustrate how the different elements of reform fit together, provides an update on the state’s property tax structure, demonstrates how it has fared in the last decade, and presents successes and remaining challenges.