In The News: Municipal

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Editorial: As retiree health costs loom, towns need tougher reforms

Feb 24 2014

The Boston Globe

Many Massachusetts residents know that public pension liabilities pose a serious fiscal threat. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation reminds everyone that the unfunded retiree health care liabilities of cities and towns, which now stands at $30 billion, is more than double the unfunded pension liability. Patrick deserves credit for pushing such an important, but politically difficult, bill in his last year in office. But getting this problem under control it will require a more aggressive bill than the governor is now offering.
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Town and city budgets squeezed

Jan 8 2014

By Jim Hand, The Sun Chronicle

The cost of pensions, health care and debt is squeezing out funding for other municipal services and causing cities and towns to lay off workers, according to a report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. The foundation found that municipal spending on those three budget-busting areas jumped 23 percent from 2007 to 2012, while spending on everything else went up only 10 percent.
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Budget gaps threatening communities

Jan 8 2014

By Thor Jourgensen, The Daily Item

A taxpayer oversight group warned cities and towns face “a long-term budget squeeze” threatening to overtake efforts by municipal budget makers in Lynn, Marblehead and other communities to balance property tax money with careful spending on health care, pensions and debt. “Virtually no city and town is out of the woods,” cautioned Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer.
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Cities, towns struggle to keep up with rising health, pension costs

Jan 8 2014

By Lane Lambert, The Patriot Ledger

The business-backed foundation’s 43rd annual municipal financial data report shows that total revenue and spending by the state’s 351 municipalities grew to $23.4 billion in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, while the total workforces have lost almost 15,000 employees since 2007.
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Report says unfunded costs choking budgets in Mass.

Jan 8 2014

By Bob Salsberg, AP / The Boston Globe

Municipalities face nearly $45 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to the report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, an independent, business-backed organization. Meeting those responsibilities could divert resources from schools, public safety, and other services, the group warned.
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Report Blames Pensions,Debts For Squeezing Municipal Budgets

Jan 7 2014

By Paul Tuthill, WAMC

15,000 municipal jobs have been eliminated in Massachusetts since 2007. The state’s cities and towns have cut the total workforce by 6 percent. In a new report released this morning, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says municipalities are in a financial squeeze because of rising pension costs and increased debt.
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Pensions, health care, debt service croaking cities, towns

Jan 7 2014

By Michael Norton, State House New Service / Nashoba Publishing

"Spending on employee and retiree benefits will consume an ever larger share of municipal budgets for the foreseeable future as municipalities face nearly $45 billion in unfunded liabilities," MTF President Michael Widmer said in a statement released to the News Service. "With modest revenue growth at best, funding for schools, public safety, and other services will be sacrificed in order to pay for the unaffordable obligations taken on by cities and towns over the past decades.
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Fiscal Troubles Forecast for Massachusetts Cities and Towns

Jan 7 2014

By Susan Kaplan, New England Public Radio

The group's president, Michael Widmer says the unaffordable obligations have already forced layoffs and will cut into spending on public safety and education. Widmer supports legislative mandates to reform retiree health care benefits. "We're not suggesting that those benefits be taken away," Widmer says. "Rather, we're focusing on eligibility for example for future retirees."
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Massachusetts municipal revenues up slightly, but overshadowed by pension and health benefit obligations, study finds

Jan 7 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican

Municipal revenues are growing, but not by enough to offset growth in cities and towns' obligations for pensions, retiree health care and debt service, according to a new study by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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REPORT ON MUNICIPAL FINANCES:

Jan 7 2014

Cape Code Today

Improved revenue collections in fiscal 2013 were not sufficient to put a dent in major unfunded municipal pension, retiree health care and debt service burdens, according to a report marked for release Tuesday morning. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation's 43rd annual report on municipal finances also examines property tax burdens and includes information broken down for each of the state's 351 cities and towns.
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