In The News: Municipal

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Fiscal Troubles Forecast for Massachusetts Cities and Towns

Jan 7 2014

By Susan Kaplan, New England Public Radio

The group's president, Michael Widmer says the unaffordable obligations have already forced layoffs and will cut into spending on public safety and education. Widmer supports legislative mandates to reform retiree health care benefits. "We're not suggesting that those benefits be taken away," Widmer says. "Rather, we're focusing on eligibility for example for future retirees."
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Massachusetts municipal revenues up slightly, but overshadowed by pension and health benefit obligations, study finds

Jan 7 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican

Municipal revenues are growing, but not by enough to offset growth in cities and towns' obligations for pensions, retiree health care and debt service, according to a new study by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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REPORT ON MUNICIPAL FINANCES:

Jan 7 2014

Cape Code Today

Improved revenue collections in fiscal 2013 were not sufficient to put a dent in major unfunded municipal pension, retiree health care and debt service burdens, according to a report marked for release Tuesday morning. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation's 43rd annual report on municipal finances also examines property tax burdens and includes information broken down for each of the state's 351 cities and towns.
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Editorial: Massachusetts' public pension system can't live up to pledges

Oct 16 2013

The Republican

“A variety of factors account for this reality, including legislation to enhance benefits and provide early retirement incentives,” the report said. The MTF's report also noted that the retirement systems had failed to achieve what it called “the 8 percent or 8.25 percent target for annual earnings on pension assets.”
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Report: Pension debt soaring for cities, towns

Oct 15 2013

The Salem News

Sounding a fiscal warning alarm to state officials and municipal leaders alike, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has cited an update showing that cities, towns and the state remain dangerously underfunded when it comes to public pension and long-term health benefits — and that the situation is growing worse.
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Walsh's arbitration albatross

Oct 7 2013

CommonWealth Magazine

Michael Widmer, president of the business-funded Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, called the bill "a step backward for financial accountability to the taxpayer."
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Little oversight when retired cops work details

Aug 18 2013

By Laura Krantz, North Attleboro Free Press

Michael J. Widmer, president of the non-profit government watchdog group Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said within limits, it is reasonable for retired officers to earn extra. But, he said, "it does no use to place limits on this supplemental income if retirement boards or someone else are not monitoring its implementation."
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Springfield pension system remains worst-funded in Massachusetts

Jul 27 2013

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican

“When one looks at the pension problem in Massachusetts, it’s clearly worse today than it was a decade ago,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “That’s a cause of great concern for the state and municipalities.”
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SouthCoast pensions receive poor marks in new rankings

Jul 21 2013

By Matt Camara, SouthCoast Today

Taxpayers already feel the effects of underfunded pensions every time a librarian position is cut or hours are slashed at a government office, said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "These are obligations we're not paying for," Widmer said Friday, adding that taxpayers are already seeing the "gradual effects."
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Public pension funds in Mass. get failing grades

Jul 17 2013

By Beth Healy, The Boston Globe

he pension systems peaked in funding progress in 2000, with $18 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. That sum has doubled in 12 years, to $36 billion, said Carolyn Ryan, a policy analyst with the group. Programs like early retirement incentives have cut short-term costs but added to long-term liabilities, she said.
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