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Lawmakers feeding pet projects

Jul 4 2008

Lawmakers feeding pet projects

By Matt Viser, The Boston Globe

"It's a very risky budget," said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded budget watchdog group. "This is certainly the time when we should be limiting state spending to the absolute most essential items. It's one thing to add projects during a boom time. It's quite another when we're in fiscal peril."
 

Mass. House, Senate agree on final budget proposal

Jul 3 2008

Mass. House, Senate agree on final budget proposal

By AP, The Boston Globe

But Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated the budget already is $1 billion out of balance and urged Patrick to freely wield his veto pen.

Besides the $310 million spending from reserves, plus about $90 million in lost interest, Widmer said lawmakers underfunded major accounts, such as health care and snow and ice removal, by $400 million. He also said lawmakers overestimated business tax revenues by about $100 million and failed to account for a $100 million film tax credit.

"I think (lawmakers) are just hoping for the best, but I think it's a very risky course," Widmer said.

 

State's $28b budget delayed

in

Jul 1 2008

By Matt Viser, The Boston Globe

"'It's one thing to have it a few days late,' said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. 'It's another to have it several weeks or months late.'"
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School agenda lauded: Patrick’s plan stirs questions

Jun 29 2008

By Jacqueline Reis, Telegram & Gazette

"Even if casinos arrive in Massachusetts, their revenue would likely cover only a quarter of what the Readiness agenda asks for, according to Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. The state is already looking at a billion dollar deficit for fiscal 2009 (which starts Tuesday), he said. He hasn't priced out the Readiness agenda, but he estimated its cost at more than $1 billion."
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School system retirees 'double dip' with waiver

Jun 28 2008

By Tracy Jan, The Boston Globe

"'The notion that somebody could be collecting a full salary and full retirement benefits really is an abuse and is very troubling,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. 'In effect, it is double dipping. It's this kind of practice that undercuts the public trust in government.'"
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Gov. backs in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

Jun 25 2008

Gov. backs in-state tuition for illegal immigrants

By Lindsey Parietti, The Daily News Transcript

"A Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report in 2006 said that giving tuition breaks would not cost the state money but prompt hundreds of illegal immigrants to enroll in public higher education, earning the state millions of dollars in tuition."
 

Education overhaul would take major money

Jun 25 2008

By Steve Urbon, SouthCoastToday.com

"'This is going to get very difficult very fast,' Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told The Standard-Times.

"'It's clear we don't have the money to do this in the short term. Maybe we don't have the money to do this in the long term. It depends on how the economy performs over the next decade,' he said."

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So long, income tax?

Jun 24 2008

So long, income tax?

By Maite Jullian, The Sun Chronicle

"'We already have a $1 billion shortfall in the budget with the state income tax,' said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which opposes the repeal. 'Without the tax, it would be a $13 billion shortfall.'"
 

Patrick presents plans for education: How changes will be funded is unknown

Jun 24 2008

By Tania deLuzuriaga, The Boston Globe

"However, their most politically challenging task will be looking at revamping the way that public schools are funded, said Michael Widmer, who is serving on the governor's commission and is the executive director of the watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation."
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School Readiness Financing

Jun 24 2008

By Monica Brady-Myerov, WBUR

"MICHAEL WIDMER: I think the state's entering a very difficult period in which it's going to be extremely difficult to maintain the present level of services in health care and education and human services and transportation, let alone any significant expansion like this."
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