In The News

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."

 

Interview with Michael J. Widmer

Jul 1 2007

MASSPIRG

"Public transportation is a lifeline for the Massachusetts economy. That is why the Foundation, and I personally, have devoted so much attention to this issue over the past decade."
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Patrick, legislative leaders, agree to study corporate tax code

Apr 30 2007

By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press

"The June 15 deadline is too soon, according to one member of panel, Michael Widmer, head of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, which opposes Patrick's loophole plan. Widmer was appointed by DiMasi.

"'You can't have a legitimate examination of corporate tax code in a month or two,' Widmer said.

"Widmer also questioned the value of the commission.

"'Of all the priorities that the state faces, I would not put this near the top,' he said. 'The impetus for the commission really is a response to the governor's proposal rather than a crying need in itself.'"

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Corporate tax hike proposal goes to task force: Patrick’s initiative has met with resistance from business sector

Apr 20 2007

By Tom Benner, The Patriot Ledger

"‘I'm open to a review of the corporate tax code, as long as it's a serious, in-depth review and not simply a smokescreen for implementing these so-called corporate loopholes,' said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation."
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Lawmaker: Pay for new commuter rail by charging car owners a "green" fee

Feb 22 2007

By Brian Boyd, SouthCoastToday.com

"Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the original version's reliance on existing revenue was a shortcoming.

"While the foundation has not taken a position on the new proposal, Mr. Widmer said Rep. Cabral's idea deserves serious consideration.

"'Clearly, the state transit system needs new revenue, and Rep. Cabral's proposal is a constructive step in moving that discussion forward,' Mr. Widmer said."

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Mass. Turnpike tolls will not come down: 'A sad day for MetroWest'

Feb 7 2007

By Emelie Rutherford, Metrowest Daily News

"Commission member Michael Widmer called news of the death of the toll-removal plan 'positive.'

"'It was a foolhardy proposal from the outset because you're transferring the obligation to the taxpayer without any additional revenue,' said Widmer, also the president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation."

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Business and Labor Communities Determined to Move Ahead with Individual Tiering

Feb 1 2007

Business and Labor Communities Determined to Move Ahead with Individual Tiering

By Tom Walsh, Vital Signs

"This train is moving, and I agree we can't wait for the perfect set of data," added Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. At the same time, though, Widmer said doctors should not be unfairly hurt by the process. "I'm not comfortable with data that will unfairly tarnish anyone's reputation."
 

State panel to call for gas tax hike

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Oct 8 2006

By Andrea Estes and Frank Phillips, The Boston Globe

"'With declining federal revenues and the cost of the Central Artery the state must find additional revenue sources to maintain and expand its highways and mass transit,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and a member of the commission who supports a gas tax increase."
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Question 1 would split gas tax and inflation

Oct 19 2001

By Amy Anthony, Cape Cod Today

But most taxes, while not indexed to inflation, are adjusted according to the CPI, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Baker’s insurance idea based on ‘flawed premise’

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By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / The Telegram

The draft policy brief, obtained by the News Service, contends the "more plausible explanation" for the enrollment growth that has put severe pressure on state finances is that Massachusetts underestimated the number of people from a variety of backgrounds who would become eligible under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and the success of enrollment outreach programs. The Taxpayers Foundation also asserts that the assessment would land on employers who are doing nothing to contribute to MassHealth enrollment growth, and could expose the state to a lawsuit for running afoul of federal law that limits a state's ability to regulate private employer-sponsored health plans.
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