In The News: Municipal

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Our View: Health reform can have impact on municipal budgets

May 30 2012

SouthCoast Today

The law creates a much narrower window for health insurance negotiations, with the threat of a binding arbitrator's decision on the other side of the deadline. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation last week said that the savings are "vastly surpassing expectations."

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Up to 5 percent of municipal employees make $100,000 or more

May 27 2012

The Boston Globe

Yet it is useful for taxpayers to keep an eye on high public salaries, said Carolyn Ryan, policy analyst at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “It is always good to look at salary information in detail, because the bulk of local government money — two-thirds to three-quarters of spending — is driven by personnel costs for police, fire, education,” Ryan said.

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City predicts surprising drop in health insurance costs

May 17 2012

By NATALIE SHERMAN, New Bedford Standard Times

"The reason all of the other communities are seeing these costs go down is because they've adopted municipal health reform and in doing that they now have the authority to renegotiate the design of health insurance plans outside of collective bargaining," said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analyst Carolyn Ryan.

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Our View: Health care reform - Good intentions, but approach is suspect

May 8 2012

The Salem News

Early last year, a group of business-affiliated organizations, including the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, came out in opposition to the bill. They noted that allowing ambulance companies to charge insurance companies directly for the services they provide actually serves as a disincentive for them to participate in the health care networks that many, including Democratic leaders, say are critical to reducing costs.

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Unfunded retirement benefits a 'time bomb' set to explode for Lowell-area communities

May 7 2012

By Evan Lips, The Lowell Sun

According to a Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation study released in February 2011, Billerica ranks 36th statewide in total pension and post-employment benefits, or OPEB, provided to employees, adding up to $307.34 million. Reached last week, MTF President Michael Widmer said the totals are likely higher since towns only have to gather the information once every two years.

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New health plan to save Haverhill $1.1M next year

May 1 2012

By Shawn Regan, The Eagle Tribune

Statewide, at least 127 municipalities and regional school districts have made health care changes based on the new state law, totaling about $80 million in savings, according to a recent survey by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. That group estimates savings will soon surpass $100 million.

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Jobless benefits task force promises real reforms

Apr 19 2012

By John Zaremba, The Boston Herald

“I’m confident this will be a serious effort, coming up with good analysis and discussion and thoughtful recommendations around some issues that may be superficially simple, but when you dig in are really fairly complicated,” Widmer said. “I have confidence in this group.”
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Reps push jobless benefit fixes

Apr 18 2012

By John Zaremba, The Boston Herald

Task force member Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said Orrall’s amendments are worth a look, but that the commission is more concerned with an in-depth analysis of the unemployment system than quick-fix legislation. “One thing I’ve learned about the unemployment-insurance system is how complex it is. I’d like to hear from people who run the system whether there are any unintended consequences,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing I expect the task force to focus on.”
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City Retiree Health Costs Crippling Worcester

Apr 16 2012

By Walter Bird, Jr., GoLocal Worcester

“Worcester has done a good job trying to control health costs,” said Carolyn Ryan, police analyst for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF). “It is still a huge and unaffordable problem.”
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A few opt out of state’s care plan

Apr 15 2012

By Michele Morgan Bolton, The Boston Globe

The no votes are mind-boggling, especially in Brockton, a city that is struggling with a budget deficit of about $12 million, said Michael Widmer, executive director of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and a key backer of the health care change. “Brockton really stands out in terms of turning its back on taxpayers,’’ said Widmer. “I think the numbers speak for themselves. It’s not wise.’’
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