In The News

State talks to set healthcare reform precedent

Jul 21 2008

By Rebecca Knight, The Financial Times

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded budget watchdog group, said the result of these talks could set an important policy example for other states considering healthcare reform.

"The state is asking for a large increase - several billion dollars over the next three years - but the Bush administration is trying to hold down Medicaid spending, and not set precedents for other states," he said. "There is a big question mark over whether the federal government will come close to meeting the state's goal."

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'Precarious' state budget hinges on Medicaid waiver

Jul 20 2008

'Precarious' state budget hinges on Medicaid waiver

By Matt Murphy, Lowell Sun

"We think it's a very risky budget ," said Michael Widmer, president of Massachusetts Taxpayers Association. "It's risky because it hasn't adjusted spending to reflect reduced revenue and some uncertainties that lay ahead."
 

Earmark trims leave many towns lacking

Jul 20 2008

By Matt Carroll, The Boston Globe

As a general rule, "the state is not in a position to fund most of these earmarks, regardless of how important they are for local communities," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

The state is also in tough financial shape and "we don't have the luxury of funding these kinds of earmarks."

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Pike refinance push spurs demands for alternatives

Jul 18 2008

By Hillary Chabot, Boston Herald

"The only way out of this is to increase the gas tax or increase tolls, or some combination," said Massachusetts Taxpayers Association President Michael Widmer.
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Cahill calls for turnpike overhaul

Jul 18 2008

By Eric Moskowitz, The Boston Globe

Budget watchdog Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, also blasted the administration's plan.

"This is one of the most irresponsible proposals I have seen seriously considered by the Legislature in my 16 years," said Widmer, whose organization is backed by business. "We are just heading off a cliff, Thelma and Louise, with a smile on our face."

Widmer called for a gas-tax increase and new tolls to help the Turnpike Authority meet the terms of its Big Dig-related debts.

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Big Dig Costs Swell To $22 Billion

Jul 17 2008

The Boston Channel

"Either a gas tax or toll increase. Those are the only two sources of revenue, and in some fashion, that is inevitable. So the question is: When and how much?" said Mike Widmer, of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Pike rescue plan raises questions at Statehouse hearing

Jul 17 2008

By Eric Moskowitz, The Boston Globe

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group, said a gas tax increase and tolls on Interstate 93 heading into Boston are needed and inevitable because of the Turnpike's financial problems, even if lawmakers don't acknowledge it yet.
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State may bail Pike out; what about T?

Jul 17 2008

By Greg St. Martin, Metro

According to the Patrick administration, the T's financial situation is also on its radar. But yesterday, Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association, said he would be concerned if the state helped ease the T's debt. He instead suggested the state should increase the gas tax and the agencies should hike fares to boost revenue.

 

"One of greatest risks here of the Commonwealth doing this is that the T is next," said Widmer, who is against the proposed Turnpike deal. "Not that the T doesn't need help, but putting the Commonwealth at risk is not the way to do it."

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Treasurer accused of inaction on Pike

Jul 17 2008

By Casey Ross, The Boston Globe

Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the administration's proposal does not solve the Turnpike Authority's underlying financial problems and could lead to huge losses for the state.

"There are all sorts of things happening that no one ever expected in the larger credit and financial markets," he said. "I don't know how we can guarantee the state is not going to be on the hook for this."

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Big Dig's red ink engulfs state

Jul 17 2008

By Sean Murphy, The Boston Globe

But more is needed, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. It simply avoids the nasty reality by borrowing deeper and longer into future, he said.

"They are not addressing the situation, they are just shifting billions of dollars of debt to future generations," Widmer said.

"Nobody wants to be the one to increase taxes," he said. "But without taxes, it means the next generation will face a deep hole."

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