In The News: Pensions

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DiPaola eyed pension deal at least 18 months ago

Nov 23 2010

By Chris Camire, The Lowell Sun

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and a proponent for pension reform, said there "are close to an infinite number of loopholes baked into the pension system." He added that while the rationale behind the pension law in question makes sense, he believes DiPaola was gaming the system.
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Editorial: Redefining 'normal'

Nov 19 2010

The Berkshire Eagle

Most strikingly, Mr. Widmer, whose organization is a respected independent watchdog, said there may never be a "return to normal" in terms of the state's economy.
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Budget-buster pensions

Oct 21 2010

By Thomas Grillo, The Boston Herald

Widmer said he believes the Legislature will extend the date required to cover the unfunded liability to 2040 from 2025. But that alone, he said, won’t solve the problem. He said significant reforms are needed, including upping the retirement age to as high as 70 and lowering returns to 5 percent to reflect today’s new economic realities. “People are living longer and the glory days of earning 8 percent on returns are over,” he said. “The pension should be preserved, but must be more realistic.”
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Analysis: Funding public pensions has retirement system, Legislature at a loss

Oct 16 2010

By Kyle Cheney, The Salem News / State House News Service

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, warned that even by spreading the cost out to 2035 or 2040, taxpayers may still have to bear a larger annual increase. "Our key recommendation is that if the Legislature and the governor support an extension, then the only responsible way to do it is to have a major pension reform as part of that extension," Widmer said.
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Some drop perks to add to pensions

Sep 27 2010

By Stacie N. Galang, The Salem News

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he can see both sides of the issue. He is sympathetic to administrators who expected to have their annuities and other benefits counted toward their pensions. "On the one hand, it's changing the rules in midstream," Widmer said. "On the other, the perception is of gaming the system."
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Patrick’s reform record scrutinized from all sides

Sep 19 2010

By Noah Bierman, The Boston Globe

"Reform has not been the administration's first instinct,'' said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed watchdog often consulted by lawmakers and the administration. "He does deserve some credit for doing some reforms, though in some cases he's been dragged kicking and screaming, and others have been untouched.''
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Editorial: Candidates must back changes to municipal health, pensions

Aug 29 2010

The Boston Globe

MASSACHUSETTS CITIES and towns need to get a firmer grip on their costs. Candidates for the Legislature can help by endorsing a slate of reforms proposed by the Massachusetts Taxpayers' Foundation: clear, simple ways to curb excesses in municipal pensions and health care, thereby saving enough money to withstand flat property-tax revenues and cuts in state aid.
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‘Baker’s Dozen’ touted to save state $1 billion

Jul 18 2010

By Steve LeBlanc, AP / The Worcester Telegram

Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he agrees with some of the changes but at best, they might eventually save about $500 million a year.
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School chiefs: Pension cap limits top talent

May 13 2010

By Edward Mason, The Boston Herald

"I don't believe (they) will have any difficulty recruiting superintendents," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "We're still talking about a very generous benefit."
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Editorial: By postponing hard choices, Beacon Hill risks greater pain

May 2 2010

The Boston Globe

This one-time money is likely to dry up much faster than tax revenues recover; the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is predicting a $2.5 billion shortfall in fiscal 2012. That's bad enough. But voters will likely be confronted in November with ballot initiatives to cut the state sales tax from 6.25 cents to 3 cents and to repeal the sales tax on alcohol purchases altogether. Should those measures pass, billions of dollars in expected revenues would vanish.
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