- 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.
- December 16 2009
State tax revenues for fiscal 2011 will total $18.953 billion, a $674 million increase over the fiscal 2010 revised benchmark, according to a new forecast today by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
MTF President Michael J. Widmer, who presented the forecast at the annual consensus revenue hearing, said, "Even with this revenue growth, the state faces an estimated $3 billion structural deficit in fiscal 2011."
- December 10 2009Despite steps taken by the Governor and Legislature, the fiscal 2010 budget is $300 - $500 million out of balance. Because of the heavy reliance on one-time funds in 2010, the state faces a structural deficit of $3 billion in fiscal 2011, which will require spending reductions comparable to cuts in 2010 spending.
- 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.