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States without income tax find other revenue

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Jan 4 2009

By Lyle Moran, The Lowell Sun

After examining the nine states without income taxes, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that Massachusetts would have been forced to raise sales and property taxes, shifting the tax burden from higher earners to middle- to lower-income earners. "Plain and simple, the nine states without the income tax turn to other taxes, primarily the sales and property tax," said foundation president Michael Widmer.
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Senate hopefuls split on tax holiday

Jul 31 2008

By Christian Schiavone, the Littleton Independent

Michael Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said that sales tax holidays give the impression of jumpstarting the economy while actually costing the state valuable revenue. He said the proposal is especially risky this year with the state facing a projected deficit of about $1 billion. "They're politically popular because they give the illusion of doing something to help the economy," he said. "When citizens are feeling pressure from escalating food and energy costs, which the Legislature can't really control, this is something they can do."
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Patrick's fuzzy math on taxes

Jul 24 2008

By Joan Vennochi , The Boston Globe

In the face of Patrick's own warnings, legislators this week are expected to take up a variety of spending bills, including a $3 billion capital facility bond bill and a $1.6 billion environmental bond bill. A $3 billion bridge repair bill is also pending, along with the $2.3 billion turnpike bailout, which Widmer called "the most fiscally risky proposal being given consideration by the Legislature during my 16 years as head of the Taxpayers Foundation."
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Massachusetts: A $1B budget imbalance, Watchdog group urges state cuts

Jul 11 2008

Massachusetts: A $1B budget imbalance, Watchdog group urges state cuts

By Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

"The current level of spending is unsustainable, and there is no plan to deal with the economic and fiscal challenges ahead," according to a budget warning sent out by the taxpayers foundation.

One of the biggest threats to the state's financial stability is a potential drop in the capital gains tax revenue, said Michael Widmer, president of the taxpayers group.

Projected capital gains revenue accounts for roughly $1.7 billion in the proposed state budget. But capital gains revenue, high when Wall Street is surging, typically dries up during a downturn.

Capital gains tax revenue, for example, plunged 75 percent in 2001 during the previous recession.

While Widmer is not predicting another 75 percent plunge, even a drop of 25 percent would wipe out $400 million in projected revenue, he said.

 

Group warns Massachusetts state budget could spell financial doom

Jul 10 2008

Boston Business Journal

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation wants Gov. Deval Patrick and State Legislators to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the recently approved fiscal 2009 state budget to avoid what it said will be "an enormous threat" to state finances.

In an analysis released on Thursday, the MTF said it was worried the shortfall would affect Medicaid and ongoing efforts to expand health insurance coverage under the state's new law mandating coverage.

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Lawmakers feeding pet projects

Jul 4 2008

Lawmakers feeding pet projects

By Matt Viser, The Boston Globe

"It's a very risky budget," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded budget watchdog group. "This is certainly the time when we should be limiting state spending to the absolute most essential items. It's one thing to add projects during a boom time. It's quite another when we're in fiscal peril."
 

Mass. House, Senate agree on final budget proposal

Jul 3 2008

Mass. House, Senate agree on final budget proposal

By AP, The Boston Globe

But Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated the budget already is $1 billion out of balance and urged Patrick to freely wield his veto pen.

Besides the $310 million spending from reserves, plus about $90 million in lost interest, Widmer said lawmakers underfunded major accounts, such as health care and snow and ice removal, by $400 million. He also said lawmakers overestimated business tax revenues by about $100 million and failed to account for a $100 million film tax credit.

"I think (lawmakers) are just hoping for the best, but I think it's a very risky course," Widmer said.

 

Less Stable: 2009 budget could halve state reserves

Jun 23 2008

By The Editorial Board, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette

"While it appears the state will close out fiscal 2008 this month in fairly good financial shape, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is warning that the 2009 state budget could deplete nearly half the commonwealth's reserves, taking a $2.1 billion fund balance to just $1.2 billion."
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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."
 
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