Finance Committee & Town Meeting Members: Benchmarking Tools for the FY2018 Budget Season

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Understanding how your community performs relative to its peers is critical in effectively scrutinizing municipal budgets. Pioneer Institute has reintroduced its FREE online tool, MassAnalysis, with the most up-to-date information available from the Department of Revenue and FBI to help you do just that.

With a couple of clicks, you can develop a dashboard for your community based on its revenues, expenditures, demographics, employment, crime, debt, education, financial strength, taxes, and transportation. For example, the image below is a graph of the Town of Natick’s expenditures.

On MassAnalysis, you can generate a peer group based on the metrics you choose to enter. The program will then display the most closely matched peer communities based on your selection. In this example, we picked peers for the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea using population, revenue, and unemployment rates as metrics. We then chose revenue to review, and with a click, we were able to see how the town ranked among its peers.

MassAnalysis is a user-friendly resource for anyone interested in improving their community – try it out!


Find out trends in salaries through It’s also good practice to visit MassReportCards, our K-12 public school and district benchmarking website, before you make that offer on a house – just how good is that neighborhood school? Our latest transparency tool,, is a site you simply can’t miss – comb it for data and help us Fix the T!

Contact Mary Connaughton, Pioneer’s Director of Government Transparency, with any questions: