In The News: Municipal

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$15 billion - What Massachusetts needs to pay retiree insurance benefits for 30 years, but doesn't have

Apr 24 2015

By Shira Schoenberg, MassLive

"Each year we delay action on this, the problem gets bigger and more unwieldy," said Carolyn Ryan, assistant director of policy and research for the business-oriented Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which has studied the impact of retiree benefits on state and local governments.
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Local aid would increase 2.4% under Baker budget

Mar 4 2015

By Michael Norton, State House News Service / Sentinel & Enterprise

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has estimated a $1.5 billion gap between expected revenues and expenses next year. Baker is tackling that budget gap without recommending any tax hikes, and does not plan to draw money from the state's stabilization fund, which lawmakers have regularly used to support spending plans.
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Norwood budgets to tackle growing OPEB deficit

Jan 12 2015

By Gary Tuoti, Norwood Transcript

“I think the long-term issue is one of most significant facing municipalities in Massachusetts,” said Carolyn Ryan, assistant director of policy and research for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “It’s something where these costs are going to continue to build over time and are going to erode resources available for other important services. The longer you take to address them, the bigger the problem can become.”
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Benefits liability hangs over budgets

Dec 18 2014

By Gerry Tuoti and William J. Dowd , Wicked Local

“I think the long-term issue is one of most significant facing municipalities in Massachusetts,” said Carolyn Ryan, assistant director of policy and research for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “It’s something where these costs are going to continue to build over time and are going to erode resources available for other important services. The longer you take to address them, the bigger the problem can become.”
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Editorial: The retiree dilemma

Sep 27 2014

The Boston Herald

Among those items of unfinished business the Patrick administration - and this sitting of the Legislature - leave behind is any attempt to reform the health care benefits paid to retired municipal workers that are bankrupting the state’s poorest communities.A new report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation documents in distressing detail the scope of the problem. They studied spending for retiree health care by nine of the 10 municipalities with the lowest per capita income in the state (data for Fall River wasn’t available).
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Report: Retiree health costs equal nearly 20 percent of tax bills for single-family homeowners in Springfield, Holyoke

Sep 24 2014

By Jack Flynn, The Republican

Expanding health care costs for retired municipal workers equal nearly 20 percent of the property tax paid by the average single-family homeowner in Springfield and Holyoke, an analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has found.
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Retiree health costs straining budgets in poorer cities

Sep 22 2014

By Andy Metzger, State House New Service / WWLP

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analyzed the impact of growing retiree health costs on nine of the 10 cities with the lowest per capita incomes. In North Adams, for example, retiree health care amounts to 22 percent of the city’s property tax levy, or $445 on the average annual tax bill in North Adams. “Not only are property taxpayers funding retiree health care at the expense of other services, they are also funding a benefit that most of them do not receive,” the MTF report stated. “Few residents have access to any retiree health care benefits themselves, let alone the generous ones provided by municipalities.”

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I-Team investigation prompts change in Swansea police policy

Jul 14 2014

By Katie Davis, WJAR

The I-Team took what it found to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "The idea that the same individual would call in sick and then do a police detail, that's a first that I've heard of," the foundation's Michael Widmer said. Widmer said he believes the real problem is New England's police detail system.
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Prop 2½ waivers mostly waived off at polls

May 25 2014

By Donna Boynton, Telegram & Gazette

"This is more or less a permanent condition," Mr. Widmer said, noting only modest increases in local aid that compete with rising costs of employee benefits, pensions and health care costs that are burdening communities lead to the need for overrides. "I think this reflects a growing sentiment on the part of taxpayers that they expect their government to manage within the means available. I think taxpayers' patience with overrides and the support for them is waning."
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Lancaster selectman: OPEB costs add up to $3.6 million

Apr 24 2014

By Michael Hartwell, Sentinel & Enterprise News

He endorsed a February report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation finding that municipalities in the commonwealth have an aggregate $30 billion in unfunded OPEB liabilities.
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