In The News: Municipal

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Not all communities find ways to save on health insurance costs

Sep 2 2012

By Michael Morton, MetroWest Daily News

"My impression is that communities are going to do this in steps and not go all the way to the GIC level in one bite," said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which pushed for the legislation after years of research and advocacy.
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State ready to release road repair allocations

Jul 15 2012

By Jennette Barnes, The Boston Globe

At the time, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation urged the Legislature to reduce funding for the bridge program, saying it borrowed from the future by moving up capital spending. But the watchdog group has no objection to the Chapter 90 funding, which is separate, because it is part of the capital budget, said Andrew Bagley, director of research and public affairs.
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Massachusetts cities and towns savor increase in local aid

Jul 14 2012

By Dan Ring, The Republican

Nonetheless, Widmer said, cities and towns will be under fiscal pressure for the foreseeable future. "They are not going to be on easy street any time soon, if ever," Widmer said. "We're not going to return to the 1990s."
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Employees Share In Savings As Municipal Health Law Backers Claim Success

Jul 12 2012

State House News Service / Worcester Business Journal

According to those groups, 77 municipalities have used the law to negotiate $78 million in savings and at least 50 more communities used traditional collective bargaining, with the new law providing additional leverage, to save about $100 million.
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School chiefs find way past pension law

Jul 7 2012

By Deirdre Fernandes, The Boston Globe

Still, said Michael Widmer, the president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, ­superintendents already ­receive generous state pensions because of their high salaries. The cost to taxpayers of the new superintendents contracts may not be significant, since the number of superintendents is limited, but the appearance is of an “end run” around pension reform efforts, Widmer said.
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Most towns poorly prepared to pay for retirement benefits

Jul 1 2012

By David Riley, Michael Morton and Laura Krantz , MetroWest Daily News

Over time, it will take more and more of the budget,” said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which issued two recent reports criticizing the benefits. “There’s no dodging it.

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Cities vary in approach to retiree health care

Jun 27 2012

By David Riley, The Newton Tab

“Over time, it will take more and more of the budget,” said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which issued two recent reports critical of retiree health care costs. “There's no dodging it.”
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School board members say students lose out as Brockton must cut budget to fund health insurance

Jun 26 2012

By Alex Bloom, The Enterprise

“Many other cities and towns have moved forward with reform and will save millions on employee health insurance, allowing them to maintain services in (2012-2013),” said Carolyn Ryan, a policy analyst for the group. “On the other hand, Brockton faces another year with unnecessary cuts to basic services.”
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GUEST OPINION: One giant step along perilous road for cities and towns

Jun 24 2012

By Michael J. Widmer, The Herald News

The Legislature and governor made enormous strides last year in giving cities and towns the tools to better control insurance costs while still providing generous health care coverage to their employees and retirees. But without serious reforms in retiree health care eligibility and benefits, these costs will threaten local budgets and force municipal leaders to make cuts to core services like education and public safety. In short, there is still considerable work to be done.
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Golden: Thunder in the middle

Jun 10 2012

By Peter Golden, The MetroWest Daily News

Two weeks ago, the independent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a trusted watchdog of state finances, reported 102 (of the roughly 350 in the state) municipalities had negotiated health insurance agreements with their employees that will save upwards of $100 million in the first year alone. Along similar lines, 141 municipalities and school districts had implemented changes in the collective bargaining process that will lead to even greater savings. Translation: Public employees will be absorbing more of their health care costs.



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