In The News

State budget in the dumps: Shortfalls leaving state's cities, towns in tough spot

May 5 2008

By Maite Jullian and Rachel Kolokoff , The Sun Chronicle

"Some say there is no end in sight.

"'It's going to get worse year by year before it gets better,' said Michael Widmer, president of Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. 'And I don't know what will make it better.'

"There is ample evidence that Widmer is not overstating his case."

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Tax repeal effort worries local lawmakers

May 3 2008

Tax repeal effort worries local lawmakers

By Ed Mason and Ethan Forman, The Salem News

"'More and more, individuals are feeling squeezed,' Widmer said. 'And when they feel squeezed, they will vote themselves a tax cut and not contemplate the consequences.'"
 

Empty MBTA Buses Spotted Throughout Boston

Apr 30 2008

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ

"Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said 'the T cannot afford to underwrite lines that are severely, seriously underutilized.'"
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Tax bill would hit big firms the most

Apr 15 2008

By Ross Kerber , The Boston Globe

"'I can't define an exact group who will be impacted, but what I do know is the weight of this will fall most heavily on large, multistate corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts citizens,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation."
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Patrick's promises at risk in budget

Apr 3 2008

Patrick's promises at risk in budget

By Matt Viser, The Boston Globe

"'It would be wise for the three leaders to take a new look at the revenues . . . given that we're now apparently in a recession,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which is studying whether that forecast is still accurate."
 

Lawmakers target police details for cutbacks

Mar 28 2008

By Jim O’Sullivan, The Bourne Courier

"Transportation Finance Commission members applauded the proposals, issued a year after the panel released its report.
"'I'm impressed with the range of the reforms,' said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, calling the package 'an absolutely critical first step.'"
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Tax hikes, agency reform needed to save state transportation

Jan 13 2008

Tax hikes, agency reform needed to save state transportation

By John Hilliard, The Patriot Ledger

That figure doesn't include future improvements or the $15 billion cost of the Big Dig, said Michael Widmer, a member of the finance panel and president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

"We are in a particularly difficult position because we built a $15 billion project," he said, noting that about one-third of the state's federal highway aid helps pay off the Big Dig's debt.

He said virtually all the state's transportation agencies have structural deficits and employ "short-term quick fixes," but there is little money for road improvements without sacrificing the existing infrastructure.

 

Flood of red ink in budget forecast

in

Nov 17 2007

By Reynold Joseph, WBZ Newsradio 1030

Michael Widmer, of the Mass Taxpayers Foundation, tells WBZ Newsradio1030 it looks like it'll be around a billion. Either way, it's bad news for cities and towns.

The potential amount of the deficit means Gov. Deval Patrick and lawmakers will have little room to fund new programs and will likely have to cut services to balance the budget. It also means cities and towns could face even sharp cuts in state assistance that are used to pay for local services.

Widmer says the problem is that the state is not adding enough jobs. Revenues are not increasing to keep pace with expenses, and when you spend more than you bring in, he says that's trouble.

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Toll Weary: With latest increase set for January, many question fairness of Pike users paying so much to support state roads

Oct 7 2007

By Ralph Ranalli, The Boston Globe

"'I think there is a wide recognition that something has to happen,' said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president Michael Widmer, who was a member of a state transportation funding panel that recently recommended an increase in the gas tax. 'We can't walk away from this any longer.'"
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Outrage, lack of fairness fuel debate over pension reform

Aug 3 2007

Outrage, lack of fairness fuel debate over pension reform

By Edward Mason and Stacie Galang, Daily News of Newburyport

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, former Dukakis administration official and longtime Beacon Hill observer, could not remember the last major pension overhaul.

"It is always difficult to make sweeping changes in the pension system," Widmer said. "When you talk about significant change in pensions, you're talking about state workers and the Legislature."

Lawmakers and state workers have proven to be obstacles to change, Widmer said. He noted the Romney administration was never able to get the Legislature to increase state workers' share of health insurance premiums.

"You see how hard it is to make minor changes in health care contributions," Widmer said. "To make more significant change in pensions is a high hill to climb."

 
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