In The News

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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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

in

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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