In The News

Commonwealth faces $13.3b healthcare bill for retirees

Aug 6 2008

By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe

"All the recommendations really come down to same thing, which is to say the state needs to find money as part of its regular budget to begin to pay off this obligation, to the tune of several hundred million dollars a year," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget research group. "It sets the broad parameters, but it doesn't really provide an answer, and all the hard work remains - namely what are we going to cut to fit this into the state budget, because there's no new revenue source."
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Obama's Petri Dish

Aug 5 2008

By Seth Gitell, The New York Sun

The president of a state fiscal watchdog, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, Michael Widmer, says the spending on public employees is not sustainable. Mr. Widmer calls police details "probably the most important symbolic issue as it relates to public dismay with public spending."
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Pension boost won't reach some retirees

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Aug 5 2008

Pension boost won't reach some retirees

By Matt Murphy, The Berkshire Eagle

The decision to defer paying for the pension increases, however, only highlights the fact that the state can't afford the raises, said Michael Widmer, executive director of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Association. "It's like so many programs. Is it wrong to enhance their pension by $10 a month? No. But do we have the money to do that? Absolutely not. So what are we doing?" Widmer said. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Association estimates the pension boost could end up costing the state between $2.7 billion and $3.5 billion by 2026.
 

Editorial: Legislature's haste, waste

Aug 4 2008

The Brockton Enterprise

"There's no money to pay for this enhanced benefit, regardless of the merits," Michael Widmer of the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation told the Globe. "It's the height of irresponsibility."
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Despite financial rescue, rough road still ahead for Pike

Aug 2 2008

By Noah Bierman, The Boston Globe

The agency's financial adviser warned in a memo last week that anything short of full backing could leave the Turnpike Authority exposed. But critics - led by Widmer, Senator Mark C. Montigny, Democrat of New Bedford, and State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill - warned that Patrick's plan was too risky, especially given the volatile financial markets.
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Pension boost OK'd for state workers

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Aug 2 2008

By Michael Levenson , The Boston Globe

"There is no money to pay for this enhanced benefit, regardless of the merits," Michael J. Widmer, the foundation's president, said yesterday. "It's another example of the administration and the Legislature passing a benefit and simply passing the buck to a future taxpayer. . . . it's the height of irresponsibility."
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Senators prod Patrick on student loans

Aug 2 2008

By Beth Healy , The Boston Globe

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a sharp critic of the turnpike bailout, said the governor should bring his power to bear to help resolve the student loan crisis. "With something of this magnitude, it's incumbent on the administration to take the lead and try to find a solution," Widmer said. He said that the universities and colleges, which all lobbied for the creation of the state lending authority nearly 30 years ago, have enough financial reserves to offer more help.
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Legislators less than kind, business groups claim

Aug 1 2008

By Jon Chesto, GateHouse News Service

But business advocates such as Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, were troubled by the impact that the legislative decisions could have on the broader economy. "There were many more setbacks for businesses than gains," Widmer says. "From an economic point of view, I would rank the session very poorly."
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Mass. lawmakers run out of time on pending bills

Aug 1 2008

Mass. lawmakers run out of time on pending bills

By Glen Johnson, AP / Forbes

Widmer pointed to enhanced pension benefits for state retirees, which he said seem small at first blush, but would end up costing the state dearly in the long run.  "At a time when the rest of the country is pretty much retrenching, we're pushing our debt limits here," said Widmer, whose group largely represents business leaders.
 

Senate hopefuls split on tax holiday

Jul 31 2008

By Christian Schiavone, the Littleton Independent

Michael Widmer, president of the non-partisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said that sales tax holidays give the impression of jumpstarting the economy while actually costing the state valuable revenue. He said the proposal is especially risky this year with the state facing a projected deficit of about $1 billion. "They're politically popular because they give the illusion of doing something to help the economy," he said. "When citizens are feeling pressure from escalating food and energy costs, which the Legislature can't really control, this is something they can do."
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