Budgeting and Forecasting

Against All Odds: How Springfield, Massachusetts Built a Fiscally Sustainable Future

Photo of Springfield, MA from GFR

If COVID-19 and the devastating events of 2020 had happened a decade earlier, the third largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would have completely gone under. That was Springfield’s unfortunate reality. Haunted by economic decline, poor school performance, crime, underfunded pensions, and underwhelming housing values, Springfield was simply a broken city.

When Springfield reluctantly fell under the control of the Finance Control Board in 2004, it was the culmination of decades of bad decisions, bad circumstances, and, yes, some bad luck. The decline of the manufacturing sector and the near-total erasure of blue-collar jobs throughout the latter half of the 20th century had gutted many once-vibrant cities and left them struggling financially. Springfield was not immune to these trends. It took many years to reach that low point, and the city government realized that it would take many more years to pull itself out.

Here we are again—this time, emerging from a global health and economic crisis. But Springfield is far more prepared and confident in its ability to recover quickly. It has rebounded from dark days before and is stronger for it. Here’s to a brighter, more prosperous future for Springfield and every midsize city in America.