In The News: Economy

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Bay State Democrats ignoring Gov. Patrick?

Jul 28 2008

By Jim Braude, NECN

If you check the news from the State Houses, you heard two dire warnings of fiscal danger ahead this week. The first came from Governor Paterson of New York, and the second from Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.  Both say the slowing economy means a potential fiscal emergency ahead. But why wasn't Governor Deval Patrick instead of a Beacon Hill lobbyist, the one speaking out in Massachusetts?
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McGlynn meets with leading economists to discuss state’s fiscal condition

Jul 28 2008

McGlynn meets with leading economists to discuss state’s fiscal condition

The Medford Transcript

McGlynn met with the president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, Michael Widmer, to discuss the health of the state's economy and the impact of the national recession on state and local finances.
 

Special pensions cost state millions

Jul 25 2008

By Sean P. Murphy , The Boston Globe

"These kinds of special pensions are very costly and should simply be eliminated," Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said in an interview. "They are just another example of sweetheart deals."
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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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Manufacturing report brightens mayors' meeting

Jul 24 2008

By Richard Gaines, Gloucester Daily Times

He noted that fast-rising health and pension costs absorb what little expansion there are in revenues, leaving the state with no relief to send to Main Street. Then Widmer turned to the parallel unraveling of the finances of the two giant public transportation enterprises — the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

"The infrastructure is falling apart at a really incredible rate," he said.

"I don't know if (the MBTA) can go into bankruptcy," Widmer said, making it that's where he thinks the T and MassPike are heading.

"We're not addressing those problems any more than we're addressing the structural problem of local aid resources," he said. "I don't see any effort by the leadership of the state to address these problems."

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State’s new fund is a mystery

Jul 23 2008

By Jon Chesto, The Patriot Ledger

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said that although lawmakers know how much money in taxes the state collected for the 2007 fiscal year, there are still a couple of unanswered questions. First, they need to settle on the size of any supplemental budget that would rely on surplus money. They also need to wait for a tally of the state expenditures that had been allocated for 2007, but not actually spent in that fiscal year.

"The goal of supporting economic development is certainly an important one, (but) it's unusual to take this kind of action," Widmer said of the lawmakers' decision not to specify where the money would go. "The good news is, at this point, they're not squandering the money. On the other hand, we don't know what they're going to use it for."

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Income tax repeal — a good switch or a bad switch?

Jul 9 2008

By Cassie Norton, The Belmont Citizen Herald

But while cutting wasteful government spending may be an admirable goal, Mike Widmer, Belmont Town Moderator and president of the Mass. Taxpayers' Association, said that is not what will happen if the income tax is repealed.

"Eliminating the income tax will have a dramatic impact on every program and service," he said. "Everything. Prisons, higher education, local education, human services, transportation and roads, infrastructure. Everything."

At the same time, Widmer said, towns would be forced to raise property taxes exponentially, and the repeal would probably result in a statewide property tax. The burden of that tax would fall disproportionably on the lower and middle-income residents.

"The income tax is much fairer than the property tax," he said. "The rate isn't graduated, but if someone makes more money, they pay more in taxes. They may have a more expensive home, but the property tax they would pay on it is nothing like what they pay in income taxes."

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Springfield police boost base pay with extra jobs, education benefits

Jun 15 2008

By Peter Goonan, The Republican

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said his group favors the use of civilian flagmen, believing it will save taxpayers "tens of millions of dollars."
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Our view: No worries for those on Beacon Hill

Jun 10 2008

Our view: No worries for those on Beacon Hill

By Editorial Board, Newburyport News

"Speaking to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce last week, Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said the proposed tax-code changes being considered in conjunction with the Fiscal 2009 budget would constitute 'the largest tax increase on corporations in the state's history' that 'will undercut the long-term strength of our economy.'"
 

Human services fair pay is urged

in

Jun 8 2008

Human services fair pay is urged

By Linda Bock, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

"Michael J. Widmer has been president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation since 1992. Though he supports the bill for fairness, he knows the measure would cost the state and ultimately, the taxpayers."
 
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