By Colin Young, State House News Service / Metrowest Daily News
"Theoretically, with low interest rates, sure it's a good time to borrow in a vacuum," Andrew Bagley, vice president for policy and research at MTF, told the News Service. "But we're up against the debt limit, we have an operating budget from which we just had to carve out $650 million in FY16, there are concerns about whether revenues will show up and we have debt service costs that go up every year." At $2.64 billion, the fiscal 2017 debt service allocation is up $640 million -- or 30 percent -- over fiscal 2008, according to MTF. "It's a hard time to argue that we really should be borrowing more, even though we sure do have enormous capital needs," Bagley said.
Michael Widmer, president of the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed fiscal watchdog group, said it is not unusual for long-term debt to grow. The state usually spends about $1.5 billion to $2 billion annually on capital projects such as highways and schools, he said.
"I think the concern we have with the film tax credit has been the cost which has been upwards of $100 million a year," said Michael Widmer, executive director for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "The key test here for Massachusetts is, do you get enough bang for the buck?"