In The News

Patrick vetoes $122.5m in budget: Cuts 260 legislative pet projects, ensures his key initiatives

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Jul 14 2008

By John C. Drake, The Boston Globe

"The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated the $28.2 billion state budget approved by House and Senate negotiators and sent to Patrick on July 3 was at least $1 billion out of balance. Patrick's vetoes put only a small dent in that projected shortfall.

'It's a good first step, but I think it's highly likely that he will use the emergency powers this fall to make additional cuts to deal with the state's fiscal realities,' Widmer said."

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Real estate sales no cure for looming deficit

Jul 14 2008

Real estate sales no cure for looming deficit

By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald

"'Certainly time is running short,' Widmer said. 'Certainly by the end of this calendar year they will have to have announced a new toll increase. There is no way you can do this without a new toll increase. The only question is how.'"
 

Patrick Vetoes $122.5M in Budget

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Jul 14 2008

Patrick Vetoes $122.5M in Budget

By Martha Bebinger, WBUR

"The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation gives the administration credit for trying to be reasonable. But the Foundation, and the state's largest business group are urging the legislature to hold off on any new assessments until the state and federal government wrap up negotiations on a multi-billion dollar Medicaid spending agreement."
 

Patrick signs $28.1B budget

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Jul 14 2008

Patrick signs $28.1B budget

By Steve LeBlanc, The Berkshire Eagle

"'It's a good first step, but it's highly likely that the governor is going to need to use these emergency powers to make cuts later this year to avoid draining all of the state's cash reserve funds,' said foundation president Michael Widmer.

"The group had warned of a potentially sharp drop in capital gains tax collections that accounted for almost $2 billion in the last fiscal year."

 

Deval Patrick seeks more budget cuts

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Jul 14 2008

Deval Patrick seeks more budget cuts

By Hillary Chabot, The Boston Herald

"'It's an ugly scene to say the least,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

"Patrick vetoed $122.5 million from the pork-packed budget yesterday, but financial watchdogs say the reduction isn't nearly enough to stave off additional cuts in a few short months.

"'We called for cuts of more than double this,' Widmer said."

 

Budget deadline is flying under citizens' radar

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Jul 13 2008

By Megan Woolhouse, The Boston Globe

"The proposed budget has prompted some analysts such as Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, to refer to the current budget as 'very risky.'"
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Massachusetts: A $1B budget imbalance, Watchdog group urges state cuts

Jul 11 2008

Massachusetts: A $1B budget imbalance, Watchdog group urges state cuts

By Scott Van Voorhis, Boston Herald

"The current level of spending is unsustainable, and there is no plan to deal with the economic and fiscal challenges ahead," according to a budget warning sent out by the taxpayers foundation.

One of the biggest threats to the state's financial stability is a potential drop in the capital gains tax revenue, said Michael Widmer, president of the taxpayers group.

Projected capital gains revenue accounts for roughly $1.7 billion in the proposed state budget. But capital gains revenue, high when Wall Street is surging, typically dries up during a downturn.

Capital gains tax revenue, for example, plunged 75 percent in 2001 during the previous recession.

While Widmer is not predicting another 75 percent plunge, even a drop of 25 percent would wipe out $400 million in projected revenue, he said.

 

Group warns Massachusetts state budget could spell financial doom

Jul 10 2008

Boston Business Journal

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation wants Gov. Deval Patrick and State Legislators to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the recently approved fiscal 2009 state budget to avoid what it said will be "an enormous threat" to state finances.

In an analysis released on Thursday, the MTF said it was worried the shortfall would affect Medicaid and ongoing efforts to expand health insurance coverage under the state's new law mandating coverage.

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Income tax repeal — a good switch or a bad switch?

Jul 9 2008

By Cassie Norton, The Belmont Citizen Herald

But while cutting wasteful government spending may be an admirable goal, Mike Widmer, Belmont Town Moderator and president of the Mass. Taxpayers' Association, said that is not what will happen if the income tax is repealed.

"Eliminating the income tax will have a dramatic impact on every program and service," he said. "Everything. Prisons, higher education, local education, human services, transportation and roads, infrastructure. Everything."

At the same time, Widmer said, towns would be forced to raise property taxes exponentially, and the repeal would probably result in a statewide property tax. The burden of that tax would fall disproportionably on the lower and middle-income residents.

"The income tax is much fairer than the property tax," he said. "The rate isn't graduated, but if someone makes more money, they pay more in taxes. They may have a more expensive home, but the property tax they would pay on it is nothing like what they pay in income taxes."

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Legislature approves $28.3B state budget Package includes $2.4M for Haverhill debt payment, increases in state aid

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Jul 4 2008

Legislature approves $28.3B state budget Package includes $2.4M for Haverhill debt payment, increases in state aid

By Edward Mason, The Eagle Tribune

It's more than possible, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation. He estimates the budget is at least $1 billion out of balance. He worries the shaky economy, plus what he sees as rosy predictions about tax revenues, could make the gap even worse.

"It's a billion dollar problem, and that may be the best case," Widmer said.

 
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