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- February 15 2011
The 50 largest cities and towns in Massachusetts face a crushing $20 billion liability for retiree health care benefits that threatens to wreak havoc with local government services, according to a new report released today by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The report, Retiree Health Care: The Brick That Broke Municipalities’ Backs, is the first analysis of municipal retiree health care liabilities in Massachusetts. The $20 billion represents what these governments must pay in today’s dollars for the lifetime health care benefits already earned by 150,000 current employees and retirees in the 50 communities.
- December 14 2010
Fiscal 2012 tax revenues will grow by $923 million or 4.7 percent to reach a total of $20.56 billion, according to a new forecast released today by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. The Foundation projects tax collections of $19.63 billion in fiscal 2011, an increase of $554 million over the current consensus forecast, and approximately $1.1 billion or 5.9 percent over tax collections in 2010.
“Despite almost a billion dollars in revenue growth, the state faces a fiscal 2012 shortfall of approximately $2 billion with no federal stimulus dollars and limited state reserves,” Mr. Widmer said. “The 2012 budget will require yet another round of cuts in local aid, human services, higher education, and almost all other state programs.”
- October 21 2010
In order to try to minimize the enormous consequences of Question 3, the proponents argue incorrectly that total state spending is $52 billion when the correct number is approximately $32 billion, as shown on page 137 of the 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
- September 22 2010
Voter approval of Question 3 would result in across-the-board cuts of approximately 30 percent in virtually all state programs, including local aid, higher education, human services, prisons, courts, environmental protection, and state parks and beaches, according to a report released today by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The report concludes that state leaders would face a $4.5 billion shortfall in the fiscal 2012 budget - an already existing structural deficit of at least $2 billion plus $2.5 billion of reduced tax revenues by cutting the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.
- September 16 2010In a presentation to business and government leaders, MTF President Michael Widmer described the $2 to $2.5 billion budget gap facing the state in 2012, which will likely turn out to be the most difficult year of the state's extended fiscal crisis. Compounding this predicament, should voters approve the ballot question to cut the sales tax from 6.25 to 3 percent, the state would lose $2.5 billion in revenues raising the 2012 shortfall to nearly $5 billion.
- August 16 2010In a newly released report, Maximizing the Value of Our Human Services Dollars, the Foundation makes two major recommendations: to streamline the administrative structure of the state's human services agencies; and to close ten antiquated and expensive institutions and move clients into community treatment. Both recommendations would save money while improving services for individuals and families. The link below is to the Executive Summary. The full report will be available shortly.
- June 6 2010The Senate recommends spending $31.4 billion, roughly $250 million less than the Governor in fiscal 2011 but $100 million more than the House, and does not rely on a draw from the state stabilization fund or increased taxes. However, with roughly $2 billion of one-time funds in the budget, the 2012 structural deficit will require substantial cuts in spending, even with an economic recovery.
- March 24 2010MTF President Michael J. Widmer presented to the Boston Economic Club an update on state and local finances.
- March 1 2010
The Governor's reliance on more than $2 billion of one-time funds in his $31.7 billion fiscal 2011 budget will require major budget cuts in 2012. According to the Foundation's analysis, even if revenues grow by $1 billion in 2012, the state would still confront a $2.5 billion shortfall with virtually no state and federal reserves to help close the gap. In addition, should the voters this November approve a ballot initiative to reduce the state's sales tax from 6.25 to 3 percent, the state will face a $5 billion structural gap in fiscal 2012, as well as an immediate $1 billion revenue shortfall in fiscal 2011.