In The News: Public Finance

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Dire economic picture sketched in series of reports

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Apr 2 2020

By Colin Young, State House News Service / The Herald News

“Simply stated, COVID-19 is a Cat 5 hurricane hitting global economies simultaneously,” MTF wrote in its analysis. “The initial impacts are staggering -- to people and families, first responders, health care professionals, employers and employees, and the world’s economy. The scale and duration of the pandemic are as yet unknown.”
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More Help Is Likely on the Way for States and Localities and the Coronavirus-caused Recession

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Mar 31 2020

By Paul W. Taylor & Girard Miller, Governing Magazine

Massachusetts is facing scrutiny on two fronts as public markets collapse and pressure on government pensions for its nearly 300,000 public employees and retirees and budgets rise. The commonwealth’s credit rating could take the real hit in all of this. The Boston Globe reports “the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said a prolonged market slump could make it tougher for the state to reach its goal of fully funding its pension obligations by 2037. If the state falls short, bond rating agencies such as S&P and Moody’s will pay attention.”
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State revenue shortfall could reach $3 billion

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Mar 30 2020

By Shira Schoenberg, Commonwealth Magazine

The analysis by the center is similar to a report released March 17 by the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. The foundation analysis estimated a lower revenue falloff — $300 million to $500 million – in the current fiscal year. But it estimated a similar impact — $2 billion to $3 billion — for fiscal 2021.
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Delayed Tax Day Forces Beacon Hill Into Emergency Budget Hole

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Mar 30 2020

By Mike Deehan, WGBH

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that is causing a public finance emergency in Massachusetts," said a new analysis of the state's fiscal outlook by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation published Monday. The analysis found that $3.6 billion of the estimated $30.3 billion the state expected to collect on or before the traditional April 15 deadline will be delayed, forcing lawmakers and the governor to either slash spending during a public health crisis, drain all of the $3.5 billion 'rainy day fund' or leverage the state's credit to borrow its way out of the hole for the time being.
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Coronavirus could cause Mass. lawmakers to rethink the state budget

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Mar 12 2020

By Jon Chesto, The Boston Globe

The margin for error already seemed slim: The business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation issued a report on Wednesday highlighting several uncertain aspects of Governor Charlie Baker’s spending plan for the next fiscal year. MTF said Baker’s plans to accelerate sales tax collections ($237 million in the budget), legalize sports betting ($35 million), and to impose high-cost drug penalties ($19 million) are just three of the items that remain up in the air, awaiting the Legislature’s approval.
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Massachusetts state pension, debt liability ‘at crisis level’

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Jan 16 2020

By Joe Dwinnel, The Boston Herald

“We’re talking about big increases and every year and the cost is expected to go up almost 10% a year,” said Heath Fahle, policy director for the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “Health care, local aid, public safety, MBTA and road projects all get squeezed a little by these rapidly growing pension payments,” said Fahle. “Credit rating agencies are noticing.” Fahle was the author of a report out earlier this week saying Massachusetts could be facing an $880 million budget gap next year due to slowing tax revenue and bills due — including pensions.
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State budget gap pegged at $900 million in new report

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Jan 15 2020

By Michael Norton, State House News Service / The Lowell Sun

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation on Wednesday predicted the upcoming budget cycle will differ significantly from the last two, during which tax receipts shattered projections and enabled the state to bulk up its cash reserves, pass one-time investments, and push the state budget up to $43.3 billion. “The presence of such a gap provides early warning that significant changes will be considered in order to balance the budget, such as tax increases or spending cuts,” the foundation concluded. “Stakeholders and opinion leaders should prepare to consider such actions as budget deliberations begin.”
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State faces $900 million budget gap, watchdog warns

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Jan 15 2020

By Matt Stout, The Boston Globe

The analysis by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation suggests that lawmakers may have to consider “tax increases or spending cuts” to balance the state’s $43 billion-plus budget. It would mark a stark reversal from recent years when officials’ primary money problem was jostling over ways to spend an unexpected windfall amid back-to-back years with a $1 billion surplus.
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Businesses owe more than $160 million in back taxes in Mass.

Nov 17 2019

By Mary Markos, Boston Herald / NH Union Leader

Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and co-chair of the income tax subcommittee within a Senate Revenue Working Group charged with revamping the state’s tax code, said that members have discussed ways to ensure maximum adherence to existing laws. “We always want to make sure we’re collecting all of the revenue that is due to the commonwealth,” McAnneny said, “but it is important to keep this in perspective.”
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House uses FY19 surplus to shore up reserves and pad ed spending

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Oct 17 2019

By Colin A. Young and Chris Lisinski, State House News Service / MassLive

Wednesday's session did not unfold without tension. Rep. Maria Robinson filed an amendment that would have stripped a section of the bill that decouples Massachusetts from the federal tax code, citing a Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation analysis that the change could cause the state to forego up to $37 million in fiscal year 2020 revenue by allowing corporations to continue deducting interest.
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