In The News

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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2013's Top ten political stories

in

Dec 29 2013

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / Cape Code Today

Under intense pressure from groups like the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council and the threat of a 2014 ballot question to repeal the tax, Gov. Deval Patrick and Legislative leaders relented, and in the process admitted that perhaps they had not understood the full economic picture and impact of the tax when they included it in their financing package.

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State's unemployment figure exceeds nation's

in

Dec 20 2013

By Andy Metzger, State House News Service / Daily News

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation this month estimated that Massachusetts will add 53,000 jobs in fiscal 2015, which would represent the largest annual jump in employment since 2000.
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Modest Revenue Growth Forecast For Massachusetts Budget

Dec 12 2013

By Paul Tuthill, WAMC

Michael Widmer, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation told a Statehouse hearing Wednesday that his group forecasts a 4.7 percent increase in tax revenues…or about $1 billion. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue projects similar growth.
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Economic growth could net $1B for state

Dec 12 2013

By Marie Szaniszlo, The Boston Herald

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation urged the governor to use the extra cash to stabilize the pension system and warned the economy could slow again next year and transportation costs could add up fast.
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Experts See Modest Revenue Growth In Mass.

Dec 12 2013

By Bob Salsberg, AP / The Street

Michael Widmer, president of the independent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the group's forecast called for tax revenues to grow by 4.7 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1. But he cautioned that the less than robust economic recovery means the next budget will be another challenging one. "Increases in largely non-discretionary spending for pensions, debt service, Medicaid and other areas, along with expanded commitments to transportation, will consume most of the $1.1 billion in new tax revenues," Widmer said.
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Experts See Rising Tax Collections In Mass.

Dec 11 2013

By Michael Norton and Matt Murphy, State House News Service / WBUR

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates state tax revenues will grow by 4.7 percent in fiscal 2015, a rate of growth that the foundation said was below the rates of previous economic recoveries. MTF estimates fiscal 2014 tax collections will reach $23.27 billion, or $470 million above the forecast used to build the state budget. Foundation President Michael Widmer predicted increases in “non-discretionary spending” in areas like employee pensions, debt service and Medicaid, in addition to expanded outlays on transportation, will consume “most” of the $1.1 billion in predicted new tax revenues.
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