In The News: Pensions

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Bill to reform pension abuse called 1st step, but not enough

Jun 11 2009

By Hillary Chabot, The Boston Herald

"This is an important first step, but these are mostly symbolic," said Michael Widmer, executive director of the business-based Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "They don't address cost savings for cities and towns in the long term."
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New state bill targets pension abuse

Jun 11 2009

By Dan Ring, The Republican

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he is skeptical the commission's work will result in significant changes, partly because the commission is dominated by public employees with a vested interest in pensions.
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Lawmakers still haven't heard us

May 22 2009

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

"This is the moment," says Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "If there aren't meaningful reforms during this time of fiscal crisis, there never will be any reforms." Widmer's exactly right about that. If not now, when?
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Some city workers double-dip amid controversy about practice

May 17 2009

By Christopher Scott, The Lowell Sun

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, is just as adamant. "The examples you cited show just how out of control the state pension system is," he told The Sun. "There's double dipping all over the place."
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Reforms that lead to big savings

May 15 2009

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

A 2007 report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Boston Municipal Research Bureau estimated that if all municipalities joined the GIC, after 10 years the total annual savings could be as much as $2.5 billion. This simple safeguard would protect employees: local health-insurance plans would have to be at least as generous as those the GIC offers.
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Why wait to enact reforms?

May 13 2009

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

"Because you have worked for one week, you get '23 and out'?" says Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "I don't buy it - and I don't think the courts would either."
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Broadside: Tax hike showdown

Apr 28 2009

By Jim Braude, NECN

Widmer says he has been pushing for reforms for months. He says, "in the end you probably have to have revenue, but for heaven sakes take advantage of this incredible fiscal crisis to do reforms that have gone by the books for decades."
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Retirees from UMass, state police dominate the list of state pensions worth more than $100,000

Apr 26 2009

By Dan Ring, The Republican

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, suggests pensions possibly should be limited to no more than $100,000 a year. Widmer also called for changes to the state law that bases a pension partly on the three highest-paid, consecutive years of service. State pensions should stem from lifetime earnings or at least five years of earnings, he said.
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The cost of arrogance at the T

Apr 11 2009

By Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation - which supports a gas tax hike and pension reform - got it right with his reply to the T retirees-turned-consultants: "Is there no end to the indignity?"
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Marzilli plea deal could protect pension, bring dismissal of charges

Apr 11 2009

By Lisa Redmond, The Lowell Sun

"The issue of getting an extra pension because he served more than 20 years, that is a total abuse of the pension system," Widmer said. "It is totally legal, but that doesn't just apply just to him. It's a part of the law that gives large sweeteners to politicians and executive-branch employees who serve more than 20 years, then lose their job."
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