- November 2009
Cities and towns across the Commonwealth are facing enormous fiscal pressures which will only worsen over the next two years and likely beyond. Confronted by structural deficits in good times, municipalities have had to deal with major cuts in local aid during two recessions this decade. There will be further cuts in state aid in fiscal 2011, made worse by the end of federal stimulus dollars which have been supporting Chapter 70 education aid.
The dramatically increasing costs of health insurance and the large jump in unfunded pension liabilities must be addressed through comprehensive reform. Controlling the growth of municipal health care costs, which have increased at five times the inflation rate since 2001, is the most important step cities and towns can take to weather the fiscal storm ahead.
- October 27 2009A special section on health care in the Wall Street Journal of October 27, 2009 included two opinion pieces debating the merits of Massachusetts' health reform law, with MTF President Michael J. Widmer describing the law's success at achieving near universal health insurance coverage. Despite the efforts of ideologues, academics and politicians to discredit the reform, the facts tell the story of the law's enormous accomplishments.
- October 9 2009President Michael J. Widmer presented MTF's revised fiscal 2010 revenue forecast to the Senate and House Ways and Means Committee.
- September 14 2009
In a presentation to business and government leaders, MTF President Michael Widmer described the global recession's enormous impact on state and local finances and the state's dependence on $5 billion of one-time state and federal funds to balance the fiscal 2009 and 2010 budgets.
- August 6 2009The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation recently received a prestigious national award for its research and public education on the fiscal and economic impact of the November 2008 ballot question to repeal the state income tax. The Foundation was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the Most Effective Education category from the Governmental Research Association (GRA), the 13th such award received by the Foundation since 1996. The centerpiece of the Foundation's work was its October 2008 report, The Enormous Consequences of Question 1, which was widely cited in the media and public debates in opposition to the initiative, which voters ultimately rejected by a 70-30 margin. The Foundation's previous awards from the GRA have covered a wide array of topics including health care, business costs, capital spending, state finances, MBTA restructuring, and state government reform.
- July 23 2009Despite claims to the contrary, the Foundation's recently released analysis of the costs to taxpayers of achieving near-universal access to health care showed that the average yearly increase was only $88 million, well within original estimates. Because of health reform, employee-sponsored enrollment has grown by 150,000 and individuals private coverage by 40,000 adding at least $750 million in costs to Massachusetts employers. Critics ignore the fact that the fundamental problem is not the costs of Commonwealth Care but rather the unprecedented collapse of state tax revenues.
- May 2009
Despite a public perception that the state's landmark health care reform law has turned out to be unaffordable, a new analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation finds that the cost to taxpayers of achieving near universal coverage has been relatively modest and well within initial projections of how much the state would have to spend to implement reform, in part because many of the newly insured have enrolled in employer-sponsored plans at no public expense.
The Foundation report concludes that state spending on the reform has increased by $350 million between fiscal 2006, the last year before reform, and fiscal 2010 - an average annual increase of only $88 million.