The growth of the debt of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Forbes, William A.
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During the twelve years following World War II the debt of Massachusetts has grown from about fifteen milllion dollars to more than a billion dollars. This rise in debt has caused widespread apprehension both as to the credit of the Commonwealth and as to the effect on industry, through the burden of increased taxation. Massachusetts is peculiarly dependent on manufacturin for its economic well-being, inasmuch as the area is lacking in most of the natural resources necessary for the primary types of economic activity such as agriculture and mining. It is also geographically situated in the corner of the nation, with a result that the transfer costs of raw materials into the state and of finished products out of the state constitute a substantial financial cost. Massachusetts is in competition with other states both for sale of its products and for inducement to new industries to add to its income and employment. Consequently any trend of government fiscal policy which results in an extra burden of taxation on industry presents a problem which calls for analysis and appraisal. A seventy-fold increase in debt in twelve years seemed to present such a problem and appeared to be worthy of analytical study. Yet, on searching for source material, this writer discovered that no study of this particular nature had been made. Having established the need for such a study, we then proceeded to secure the essential facts necessary for objective analysis and appraisal. This involved first a comprehensive collection of the data, the history of the debt policy of the Commonwealth, the post-war growth of the debt, the comparison of the debt with the debt of other states, the nature and structure of the debt and the problem of servicing the debt. This constitutes Part I of the thesis. In it we find that Massachusetts has for some two hundred tears exercised its borrowing power with discretion and responsibility, adapting its debt policy to the needs of the times, expanding and contracting its outlays often counter to the practice of other states.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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