In The News: Pensions

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Retirement systems don’t add up

May 24 2014

By Barry Koslow, The Boston Herald

Here at home, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation reports that state and local governments in the Bay State have set aside only $63 billion — 43 percent — of the $146 billion needed to meet pension and health obligations for current and future retirees.
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Mass. pension plan ranks worst in US, study finds

May 1 2014

By Beth Healy, The Boston Globe

Carolyn Ryan, assistant director of policy and research at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, who reviewed the report, said it makes sense to require a waiting period before people qualify for a pension. “The Urban Institute gives us a demerit for our 10-year investing requirement. We disagree with that,’’ Ryan said.
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Editorial: Facing reality in Boston

Jan 16 2014

The Providence Journal

A report this month from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-oriented oversight group, underlines the severity of the problem across Massachusetts. Pension costs and health care for current and retired municipal employees continue to squeeze local budgets: Those costs grew 23 percent from 2007 to 2013. The MTF warned that “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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New state guidelines may end pension perk

Dec 8 2013

By Lyle Moran, The Lowell Sun

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he hopes the state Legislature acts to put an end to anyone being able to secure pension credit for time they did not work, even if they now will be required to pay a nominal amount for that time. "Clearly, there should be a legislative fix," Widmer said. "It makes little sense to get pension credit for sitting on a wait list."
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Editorial: Massachusetts' public pension system can't live up to pledges

Oct 16 2013

The Republican

“A variety of factors account for this reality, including legislation to enhance benefits and provide early retirement incentives,” the report said. The MTF's report also noted that the retirement systems had failed to achieve what it called “the 8 percent or 8.25 percent target for annual earnings on pension assets.”
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Report: Pension debt soaring for cities, towns

Oct 15 2013

The Salem News

Sounding a fiscal warning alarm to state officials and municipal leaders alike, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has cited an update showing that cities, towns and the state remain dangerously underfunded when it comes to public pension and long-term health benefits — and that the situation is growing worse.
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Report: State facing pension woes

Oct 11 2013

By Steve LeBlanc, AP / SouthCoast Today

State and local governments in the state are on the hook for $83 billion in unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report found.
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Springfield pension system remains worst-funded in Massachusetts

Jul 27 2013

By Shira Schoenberg, The Republican

“When one looks at the pension problem in Massachusetts, it’s clearly worse today than it was a decade ago,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “That’s a cause of great concern for the state and municipalities.”
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SouthCoast pensions receive poor marks in new rankings

Jul 21 2013

By Matt Camara, SouthCoast Today

Taxpayers already feel the effects of underfunded pensions every time a librarian position is cut or hours are slashed at a government office, said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "These are obligations we're not paying for," Widmer said Friday, adding that taxpayers are already seeing the "gradual effects."
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Public pension funds in Mass. get failing grades

Jul 17 2013

By Beth Healy, The Boston Globe

he pension systems peaked in funding progress in 2000, with $18 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. That sum has doubled in 12 years, to $36 billion, said Carolyn Ryan, a policy analyst with the group. Programs like early retirement incentives have cut short-term costs but added to long-term liabilities, she said.
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