In The News: Budget

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Group says Massachusetts faces $1B deficit

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Dec 17 2014

AP / The Lowell Sun

The analysis released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation forecasts a $288 million shortfall in revenue and $525 million in spending obligations not included in the budget which runs through June 30. The organization also said the state faces at least $180 million in temporary Medicaid costs resulting from a breakdown of the state's health insurance exchange.
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Mass. shortfall is closer to $750m, tax group warns

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Dec 17 2014

By Joshua Miller, The Boston Globe

A massive $750 million shortfall, larger than previously estimated, will confront Governor-elect Charlie Baker when he takes office next month, potentially forcing him to make unpopular cuts as he begins his term, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “He faces a huge fiscal challenge that is more daunting than anything we have seen in an economic recovery in a long time,” said Michael J. Widmer, president of the business-backed group, which has an established presence on Beacon Hill.
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Baker says heroin crisis is among early priorities

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Dec 17 2014

WCVB

Baker said Tuesday that jump-starting the state's stalled medical marijuana rollout would also be an early priority, as would addressing a state budget gap estimated at $329 million by outgoing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick's administration but even larger by the independent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Reception to GOP tax amnesty plan mixed

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Dec 10 2014

By Marie Szaniszlo, The Boston Herald

Michael J. Widmer, outgoing president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said in many cases, businesses, like some individuals, don’t pay their taxes because they dispute their assessment. “The amnesty is a chance to reach an agreement and collect revenues which might otherwise never be received or only after a long period,” Widmer said in an e-mail yesterday. “We haven’t looked at this, but my one caution would be not to use one-time revenues to support ongoing operating expenses.”
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Pay raises recommended for governor, legislative leaders

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Dec 8 2014

By Bob Katsen, The Lowell Sun

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told Beacon Hill Roll Call that each governor has had to improvise to estimate what the figures would be for that second year and have sometimes been way off. "Since there is at least a nine-month lag in the median-household-income data published by the Census Bureau, governors have found it impossible to meet the constitutional requirement," Widmer said. "The BEA data provides a close approximation in a far more timely manner."
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Karyn Polito says new Health Connector website shows 'promising results'

Dec 5 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, Masslive

Polito's prepared remarks, provided by her spokesman, referred to a shortfall of "$500 million to $600 million or more." Asked where the $700 million figure came from, Polito referred to the estimate by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation's Michael Widmer and said Widmer placed the deficit somewhere around "five, six, seven hundred million dollars."
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Medicaid reforms pitched as way to help balance state’s budget

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Dec 4 2014

By Chris Cassidy, The Boston Herald

The report comes as the incoming Baker administration prepares to face down a budget deficit that the Patrick administration has pegged at $329 million, but that others, including the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, believe could be much more.
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Report outlines savings for state budget buster

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Dec 3 2014

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / The Lowell Sun

While the Patrick administration has proposed ways to close a projected $329 million shortfall in the current state budget, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer has suggested that Baker could inherit a larger problem in January due, in part, to exposures in the MassHealth budget.
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Gov conditionally supports big raises for top state jobs

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Dec 2 2014

By Gintautas Dumcius and Matt Murphy, State House News Service / The Lowell Sun

Widmer, the head of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and a member of the commission, noted that he has repeatedly said the $329 million budget shortfall identified by the governor "understates" the problem, and the incoming governor will likely have to make his own cuts.
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Worcester holding breath over possible state aid cuts

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Dec 1 2014

By Nick Kotsopoulos, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

He said the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates that the state's budget deficit could be closer to $500 million, in large part because of unrecognized health care costs. While the governor needs legislative approval to reduce by $25 million local aid, the other $40 million in cuts he has proposed that would affect cities and towns fall under his so-called 9C authority to reduce executive branch spending
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