In The News

Mass. lawmakers OK nearly $16 billion in borrowing

Aug 12 2008

Mass. lawmakers OK nearly $16 billion in borrowing

By Steve LeBlanc, AP

"They always pass these authorizations with a lot of fanfare as if they are going to spend the money immediately, but a lot of these bond bills are over five or ten years," Widmer said. "There is the issue of giving false expectations that they'll be spent in the near term." Widmer said the level of authorized borrowing, while unusual, doesn't pose a fiscal risk to the state in part because of a self-imposed cap on the amount of bonds the state can issue in a single year.
 

Patrick rejects pension increase

Aug 12 2008

By Matt Viser, The Boston Globe

The cost could reach between $2.7 billion and $3.5 billion by 2026, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed fiscal watchdog group. "It was an act of political courage," Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said of the governor's veto. "The easy decision would have been to sign it and give an added benefit to 100,000 employees. "But the state didn't have any money to pay for it," Widmer said. "This is clearly the responsible course."
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Agencies agree to aid T, Turnpike

Aug 12 2008

By Noah Bierman, The Boston Globe

"Perhaps they can pull a rabbit out of the hat, but I'm skeptical," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and a member of a bipartisan commission that documented the financial problems of the state's transportation system last year.
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Patrick signs 5-year bond bill

Aug 11 2008

By Dan Ring, The Republican

"It's a vastly improved bill," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "It protects the turnpike without the extreme risk of a full bailout."
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WIDMER: GOV SHOULD RE-THINK TAKE HOME POLICY

Aug 11 2008

WIDMER: GOV SHOULD RE-THINK TAKE HOME POLICY

WHYN News

Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association says the administration needs to rethink who's allowed to take home cars while the state grapples with a billion dollar deficit. Patrick spokesman Kyle Sullivan says most of the take-home vehicles are for legitimate public safety purposes, but the policy is being reviewed.
 

501 state workers get free rides

Aug 11 2008

By Hillary Chabot, The Boston Herald

The sheer size of the state's take-home vehicles struck fiscal watchdog Michael Widmer as an eye-popping expense as state officials face a crippling budget shortfall. "With the state running a billion-dollar deficit, every dollar counts," said Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association. "It's time for a review of vehicle usage when you have that many being taken home."
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Editorial: Get T in order

Aug 7 2008

Worcester Telegram

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, has said the T's benefit package "may well be the richest in America." Grabauskas' progress on that front has been mixed: Last month an arbitrator ruled that new MBTA retirees will have to pay 10 percent toward their health insurance costs.
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Fiscal crisis may force emergency session

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Aug 7 2008

By Hillary Chabot , The Boston Herald

"I think either the administration through emergency powers or the Legislature will have to make some very difficult decisions later in the year about fiscal year 2009 spending," said Michael Widmer, president of the Beacon Hill watchdog group the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association. "All the factors suggest it's going to get worse."
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Report: Tobacco money should be used to help pay state retiree benefits

Aug 7 2008

By Edward Mason, The Salem News

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, called the report "a start" but said that "tough questions remain unanswered." Among those is how the state can save money by trimming future retirees' health care packages. "I agree (retirees' health care) should be funded," Widmer said. "But this is not a realistic recommendation."
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Deval Patrick’s eyes on the details

Aug 6 2008

By Hillary Chabot, The Boston Herald

"Opening the door a crack is important," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "The key for the administration is to put in place a program that will address the issue at the municipal level."
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