In The News: Pensions

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Taxpayers group: Don't change pension reform

Sep 14 2011

By Chris Camire, The Lowell Sun

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is warning senators against watering down a pension-reform bill that aims to close costly loopholes and reduce the state's unfunded pension liability. In a letter sent to senators Tuesday, foundation President Michael Widmer argues that weakening the proposal will place the state's credit rating at serious risk.
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Correction

Sep 14 2011

The Boston Herald

A Sept. 13 editorial, “Part way on pensions,” misstated a cost associated with the pension reform bill due for Senate debate today. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates that increasing the base for cost of living adjustment calculations will cost $2 billion over 30 years, while the Senate puts the cost at $1.5 billion over 30 years.
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Educator’s pensions skyrocket

Jul 25 2011

By Chris Cassidy, The Boston Herald

“This is a serious problem, and there’s an urgent need for reform,” said Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “Just as companies have found they can’t afford defined pension plans because they’re too rich, governments are finding the same problems.”
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Pension reforms spark union firestorm

Apr 12 2011

Gloucester Daily Times

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, defended the governor's proposal as "modest." "The governor's pension reform bill provides a reasonable yet critical step in reining in unsustainable pension costs for the state and municipalities in Massachusetts, while still providing a level of guaranteed retirement benefits that are largely a thing of the past for most of the Commonwealth's citizens," Widmer said
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Unions resist pension system

Apr 7 2011

By Matt Murphy, The Boston Herald / State House News Service

“The governor’s pension reform bill provides a reasonable yet critical step in reining in unsustainable pension costs for the state and municipalities in Massachusetts, while still providing a level of guaranteed retirement benefits that are largely a thing of the past for most of the Commonwealth’s citizens,” Widmer said.
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Sick bank turns benefit into cold cash

Mar 25 2011

By Tim McLaughlin, Boston Business Journal

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said these benefits - banking unused vacation and sick time - can no longer be taken for granted because they’re no longer affordable. “It’s just one more liability the state can’t afford,” Widmer said. “... There is a real tension, maybe even a collision coming between the old ways of doing business and the assumptions that these kinds of benefits must endure forever. In the end, the fiscal realities will prevail.”
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176 Massachusetts state retirees collect $100K pensions

Mar 21 2011

By Matt Carroll, The Boston Globe

“There is an urgent need for comprehensive pension reform,’’ said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “Soaring pension and health care benefits are cannibalizing municipal services.’’
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Holliston man calls for details on pension, benefits costs

Mar 2 2011

By Kendall Hatch, MetroWest Daily News

A report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation recently detailed the magnitude of what cities and towns across the state owe for retiree medical benefits, with obligations rising as health care costs go up and state law restricts how municipalities can act. Bill Dowd brought up the costs for those medical benefits, as well as unfunded town pensions, during last year's spring Town Meeting.

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A pitched battle

Feb 27 2011

By Elaine Thompson, The Worcester Telegram

“What's fair is fair,” said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which released a report this month showing that the state's biggest 50 municipalities face $20 billion in liabilities for retiree health care benefits. “If the state can make these changes without going through collective bargaining, municipal officials should have the same power.”
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Editorial: Discipline lacking

Jan 20 2011

The Boston Herald

“You’ve got a problem (with next year’s budget), but spending is supposed to match revenues,” Widmer said. “Just kicking the can down the road is not an answer.”
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