In The News: Public Finance

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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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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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Governor Deval Patrick’s hits and misses

Dec 17 2014

By Shirley Leung, The Boston Globe

When all is said and done,under Deval Patrick, businesses collectively pay at least $150 million more annually in taxes, according to Michael Widmer, president of the 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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