In The News

Truth in budgeting easier said than done

Jul 17 2008

By Jack Spillane, South Coast News

Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said the governor may have to look to local aid because the budget he signed Sunday is already "at least $1 billion" out of balance. The governor and Legislature are making up the difference by spending down about a quarter of the rainy day fund.

The other areas of the state budget where the Patrick administration is seeking emergency cutting powers - the judiciary budget and the budget for state constitutional offices like treasurer or secretary state - do not contain the big dollars that local aid does, Mr. Widmer said.

"Local aid is the big one. I presume that's what's on their mind," he said.

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Patrick faces criticism for Turnpike bailout plan

Jul 16 2008

By Peter Howe, NECN

Governor Deval Patrick and house leaders want to help by having state taxpayers back turnpike bonds, if needed. State treasurer Tim Cahill says no. So does the business-backed Mass Taxpayers Foundation.
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Lawmakers leery of giving governor power to make emergency budget cuts

Jul 16 2008

By Edward Mason, Gloucester Daily Times

"In a full-blown crisis, the only place with real money is local aid," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Editorial: Sharpen the shears, just in case

in

Jul 16 2008

The Boston Globe

GOVERNOR PATRICK needs new tools to deal with economic threats that, if left unchecked, could lead to a fiscal fiasco in 2009. Business-as-usual practices on Beacon Hill can't cope with what the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation fears is a budget that is $1 billion out of balance.
"Delay is death," warns Michael Widmer, president of the business-funded Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "The longer you delay, the more savage the cuts have to be."
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Editorial: Fiscal watchdog sends fair warning

in

Jul 16 2008

The Republican

Gov. Deval L. Patrick's vetoes of $122.5 million in legislative spending may not be enough for the state to avoid a fiscal meltdown.

That dire warning - and a fair one, we might add - was issued last week by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the fiscal watchdog agency whose advice has proved prescient in the past.

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Reps to Patrick: Trim more in state budget

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Jul 15 2008

By Jim Hand, The Sun Chronicle

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said the cut should have been at least twice as much.
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Local legislators aim to undo cuts in pet project cuts

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Jul 15 2008

By Edward Mason, Gloucester Daily Times

Widmer said that's the wrong attitude.

"I don't think that's responsible," Widmer said. "The state has a huge fiscal problem. Doing overrides for pet projects is simply not responsible."

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Editorial: Time to tighten the budget is now

in

Jul 15 2008

Boston Herald

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has estimated that the $28 billion-plus budget that the Legislature hammered out is at least $1 billion out of balance.

It is based in part on the assumption that the commonwealth will collect a huge payday from the federal government - up to $600 million - to finance health care for the poor. And it relies on upward of $500 million from rainy-day and reserve accounts.

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Is Gov. Patrick's budget one billion dollars short?

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Jul 14 2008

By Jim Braude, NECN

Over the weekend, Governor Deval Patrick signed the 2009 budget for Massachusetts. 28-plus billion dollars. But the story's not over. He vetoed over $100 million in earmarks, but legislators are anxious to override, and watchdogs are saying the budget has a big hole in it. Joining Jim to discuss are, Leslie Kirwan and Michael Widmer the President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (video).
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Patrick draws fire over vetoes

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Jul 14 2008

By Dan Ring, The Republican

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said he didn't want to comment on individual vetoes, but he said it's highly likely that the governor will be forced to make emergency cuts to the budget this year. He said the vetoes were a constructive first step.

"We can't sustain this level of spending," Widmer said. "We're entering very treacherous waters."

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