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Pike refinance push spurs demands for alternatives

Jul 18 2008

By Hillary Chabot, Boston Herald

"The only way out of this is to increase the gas tax or increase tolls, or some combination," said Massachusetts Taxpayers Association President Michael Widmer.
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Cahill calls for turnpike overhaul

Jul 18 2008

By Eric Moskowitz, The Boston Globe

Budget watchdog Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, also blasted the administration's plan.

"This is one of the most irresponsible proposals I have seen seriously considered by the Legislature in my 16 years," said Widmer, whose organization is backed by business. "We are just heading off a cliff, Thelma and Louise, with a smile on our face."

Widmer called for a gas-tax increase and new tolls to help the Turnpike Authority meet the terms of its Big Dig-related debts.

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Big Dig Costs Swell To $22 Billion

Jul 17 2008

The Boston Channel

"Either a gas tax or toll increase. Those are the only two sources of revenue, and in some fashion, that is inevitable. So the question is: When and how much?" said Mike Widmer, of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Pike rescue plan raises questions at Statehouse hearing

Jul 17 2008

By Eric Moskowitz, The Boston Globe

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group, said a gas tax increase and tolls on Interstate 93 heading into Boston are needed and inevitable because of the Turnpike's financial problems, even if lawmakers don't acknowledge it yet.
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State may bail Pike out; what about T?

Jul 17 2008

By Greg St. Martin, Metro

According to the Patrick administration, the T's financial situation is also on its radar. But yesterday, Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, said he would be concerned if the state helped ease the T's debt. He instead suggested the state should increase the gas tax and the agencies should hike fares to boost revenue.

 

"One of greatest risks here of the Commonwealth doing this is that the T is next," said Widmer, who is against the proposed Turnpike deal. "Not that the T doesn't need help, but putting the Commonwealth at risk is not the way to do it."

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Treasurer accused of inaction on Pike

Jul 17 2008

By Casey Ross, The Boston Globe

Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the administration's proposal does not solve the Turnpike Authority's underlying financial problems and could lead to huge losses for the state.

"There are all sorts of things happening that no one ever expected in the larger credit and financial markets," he said. "I don't know how we can guarantee the state is not going to be on the hook for this."

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Big Dig's red ink engulfs state

Jul 17 2008

By Sean Murphy, The Boston Globe

But more is needed, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. It simply avoids the nasty reality by borrowing deeper and longer into future, he said.

"They are not addressing the situation, they are just shifting billions of dollars of debt to future generations," Widmer said.

"Nobody wants to be the one to increase taxes," he said. "But without taxes, it means the next generation will face a deep hole."

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Truth in budgeting easier said than done

Jul 17 2008

By Jack Spillane, South Coast News

Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the governor may have to look to local aid because the budget he signed Sunday is already "at least $1 billion" out of balance. The governor and Legislature are making up the difference by spending down about a quarter of the rainy day fund.

The other areas of the state budget where the Patrick administration is seeking emergency cutting powers - the judiciary budget and the budget for state constitutional offices like treasurer or secretary state - do not contain the big dollars that local aid does, Mr. Widmer said.

"Local aid is the big one. I presume that's what's on their mind," he said.

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Patrick faces criticism for Turnpike bailout plan

Jul 16 2008

By Peter Howe, NECN

Governor Deval Patrick and house leaders want to help by having state taxpayers back turnpike bonds, if needed. State treasurer Tim Cahill says no. So does the business-backed Mass Taxpayers Foundation.
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Lawmakers leery of giving governor power to make emergency budget cuts

Jul 16 2008

By Edward Mason, Gloucester Daily Times

"In a full-blown crisis, the only place with real money is local aid," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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