In The News

Home values begin to rebound

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Mar 2 2014

By Brenda J. Buote, The Boston Globe

In its 43d annual Municipal Finance Data report, released in January, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that spending on pensions, employee and retiree benefits, and debt service grew 23 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2012, while all other spending grew just 10 percent. “With modest revenue growth at best, funding for schools, public safety, and other services will be sacrificed in order to pay for the unaffordable obligations taken on by cities and towns over the past decades,” Widmer said.
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Tax Fairness Commission recommends graduated income tax

Feb 26 2014

By Colleen Quinn, State House News Service / The Daily News

Before they opted not to take a single vote on the entire report, Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he planned to vote against the final report, largely because of the graduated income tax recommendation.
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Massachusetts Tax Fairness Commission to recommend lowering state income taxes for the poor, increasing them on the wealthy

Feb 26 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican

“The problem with those proposals is they pose a larger tax on the very individuals who are making decisions about where to build their businesses, whether in Massachusetts or other states,” said Michael Widmer, a committee member and president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “The only solution to the dilemma facing Massachusetts is to create jobs, and this would undercut the creation of jobs and be counterproductive toward the overall goal of a more competitive Massachusetts economy.”
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Editorial: As retiree health costs loom, towns need tougher reforms

Feb 24 2014

The Boston Globe

Many Massachusetts residents know that public pension liabilities pose a serious fiscal threat. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation reminds everyone that the unfunded retiree health care liabilities of cities and towns, which now stands at $30 billion, is more than double the unfunded pension liability. Patrick deserves credit for pushing such an important, but politically difficult, bill in his last year in office. But getting this problem under control it will require a more aggressive bill than the governor is now offering.
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State House Roundup: Rolling With The Punches

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Jan 24 2014

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / WBUR

“This is largely a steady as you go, straight-forward, no-frills budget,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer. And one likely to get a rewrite now that it’s in the hands of the Legislature.

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Patrick whiffs on anti-privatization law

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Jan 24 2014

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

No one has a hard estimate for how much could be saved by letting private companies compete for the right to deliver more state services, but Sullivan believes that, at a minimum, it would be $100 million a year. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, thinks that over time, those savings could grow to hundreds of millions annually.
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Patrick seeks 5% spending increase in final budget plan

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Jan 23 2014

By Matt Murphy and Michael Norton, State House News Service / The Daily News

“This is largely a steady as you go, straight-forward, no-frills budget,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer, who said the bulk of revenue increases for fiscal 2015 would go toward Medicaid, debt service and pensions. He said he was “pleased” to see the administration accelerate by four years the state pension funding schedule and reduce its reliance on one-time revenue.
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Patrick Unveils Budget Plan: A Boost for Education, Taxes for Soda and Candy

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Jan 22 2014

By Sarah Birnbaum, New England Public Radio

Overall, the governor’s budget would increase funding by about 5 percent over last year’s levels. Widmer says most of the increase will go to fixed costs like Medicaid, debt service and pensions. "There’s not a lot of money to play around with…maybe $400 or $500 million of discretionary dollars," he says. "So, not a lot in a $35 to $40 million budget."
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Patrick Unveils Less Ambitious $36.4 Billion Budget

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Jan 22 2014

By Sarah Birnbaum, WGBH

The proposal would not increase local aid for cities and towns. But Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer says legislators are unlikely to go along with that. “It’s an election year," he said. "I think you’ll see a little boost in municipal local aid."
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Governor boosts child welfare agency in proposed budget

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Jan 22 2014

By Matt Stout, The Boston Herald

“It’s largely a maintenance, no-frills, steady-as-you-go budget,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “I think the problem is he didn’t have the revenues to do much else. On the tax increase, I think he made the correct judgment that it wouldn’t have any better chance this year, maybe even less chance in an election year. ... But it’s an interesting punctuation mark” to his two terms
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