Michael J. Widmer, president of the Taxpayers Foundation, who helped campaign against the repeal, said the vote could have serious long-term consequences for transportation funding that was given a boost last year.
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analyzed the impact of growing retiree health costs on nine of the 10 cities with the lowest per capita incomes. In North Adams, for example, retiree health care amounts to 22 percent of the city’s property tax levy, or $445 on the average annual tax bill in North Adams.
"The impact on the budget is really marginal at best," said Andrew Bagley, director of research and public affairs for the Boston-based Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. He said it is difficult to argue against something viewed favorably by both businesses and consumers.
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.
“There’s virtually no chance the Legislature gives him this authority,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, noting if Patrick were concerned about spending, he could have wielded more vetoes than the modest $16.1 million worth in this year’s $36.5 billion budget, which he signed yesterday.
“It’s a balanced, responsible budget,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer. “It’s a tight budget reflecting a small recovery.”
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.
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.