In The News: Economy

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Convention center director leaves no loose ends

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Jul 14 2014

By Casey Ross, The Boston Globe

When he was reviewing the expansion plans, Michael Widmer, head of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he was less concerned about the city’s role in the world than the project’s benefit to the local economy. Even today, he said, he is unsure of what that return will be. The project seems to be a sensible investment, Widmer said. “He’s made a persuasive argument,” he said. “But how many additional conventions will we get? The truth is we don’t know. Jim Rooney doesn’t know. Nobody knows. Whether this will pay for itself in some reasonable way, we’ll know that in another 10 years.”

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State’s taxpayer advocate sums up without division

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Jun 14 2014

By Renée Loth, The Boston Globe

For Widmer the win is not just for a town’s bottom line. “I see that as preserving teachers in the classroom and good benefits for public employees,” he said. The money saved could cut taxes, sure, but it could also be plowed back into hiring more police, firefighters, and teachers. “It actually preserves public sector jobs,” he said.
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Say no to Convention Center expansion

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Jun 12 2014

By Derrick Z. Jackson, The Boston Globe

“What’s of concern to me,” Widmer said, “is that there has not been a broader public discussion about the best use of limited dollars.”
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Editorial: Michael Widmer leaves substantial void on Beacon Hill

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Jun 1 2014

The Boston Globe

Last year, his warnings about an ill-conceived “tech tax” on computer services paved the way for a remarkably swift repeal. Widmer’s influence only grew over time, and he earned it in the best possible way: through solid facts, sharp analysis, and a palpable concern for the future of the Commonwealth. He will be sorely missed.
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Convention center expansion wins in House

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May 29 2014

By Donna Goodison and Matt Stout, The Boston Herald

“Even with hotel expansions, we won’t have an adequate number of hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity (of the BCEC), so we’ll still be behind many cities in that respect,” Widmer said. “And some of the projections about future conventions that would come to Boston are un­certain.”
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Minimum wage bill drawing mixed reviews

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Mar 19 2014

By Matt Murphy, State House New Service / Gloucester Times

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he will be curious to see how the House approaches the taxable wage base for unemployment insurance. “The devil is in the details,” Widmer said. “If the minimum wage is part of real UI reform, it’s a reasonable approach.”
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Ballot activists see shortcomings in House minimum wage bill

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Mar 14 2014

By Matt Murphy, State House New Service / WBJournal

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he will be curious to see how the House approaches the taxable wage base for unemployment insurance. "The devil is in the details," Widmer said. "If the minimum wage is part of real UI reform, it's a reasonable approach."
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Home values begin to rebound

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Mar 2 2014

By Brenda J. Buote, The Boston Globe

In its 43d annual Municipal Finance Data report, released in January, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that spending on pensions, employee and retiree benefits, and debt service grew 23 percent between fiscal years 2007 and 2012, while all other spending grew just 10 percent. “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,” Widmer said.
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HEDLUND REPORT: It’s their party and they’ll tax if they want to!

Aug 6 2013

By Senator Bob Hedlund, Wicked Local Marshfield

The most foolish of all the latest tax increases that is sure to have the most negative impact is the new 6.25 percent sales tax on computer system design services and software services. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said it best when he warned the Governor and Legislature that “State leaders could hardly have chosen a more perfect tax to undercut the future of the Massachusetts economy. This is the most sweeping computer and software services tax in the nation. It strikes at the heart of the state’s innovation economy and will stifle job creation for years to come.”

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Massachusetts Foists Software Service Tax on Local Business

Aug 5 2013

By Christine Parizo, Internet Evolution

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has said in published reports that the tax could actually raise $500 million for the Commonwealth -- and cost Massachusetts, a hotbed of technology companies, quite a few jobs. In addition, implementing it so quickly will also take a toll on technology companies, particularly smaller systems integrators and independent consultants whose bread-and-butter clients are located in Massachusetts, as well as strain the resources of healthcare providers who often need customized software to, for example, ensure that hospital beds are provisioned efficiently.

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