Michael Widmer

Guest Contributor

Stories by Michael Widmer

With health assessment, Baker heading down familiar path

With health assessment, Baker heading down familiar path

Proposed levy has shades of Patrick's ill-considered software tax

“ONCE BURNED, twice shy.” Will the Legislature heed that aphorism in response to Gov. Baker’s proposed health care tax on employers to help balance the state’s fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets? Four years ago, then-Gov. Patrick proposed a tax on computer software and services to help expand funding for transportation. He assured the Legislature that(...)

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Baker’s health care tax is bad policy

Baker’s health care tax is bad policy

It’s also not fair and a misreading of history

IN AN ERA OF ALTERNATIVE FACTS, a bit of revisionist history may seem like a small sin. But in the case of Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed tax on employers who don’t offer a high level of health insurance, a misreading of history can have serious consequences. The governor claims that the “assessment” represents a revival(...)

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Boston property tax hike makes sense

Boston property tax hike makes sense

Voters should back community preservation surcharge

TAXES VS. INVESTMENTS. The tension between these two concepts has been at the center of public policy debates at all levels of government throughout American history. Putting aside the recurring but almost always specious claim that simply eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse will be sufficient to pay for needed public investments, the reality is that(...)

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The lessons of GE’s move to Boston

The lessons of GE’s move to Boston

We need to both invest and be more competitive

LURKING BEHIND GENERAL ELECTRIC’S DECISION to relocate its headquarters to Boston is the hotly debated issue of why businesses locate and grow in Massachusetts or decide to consolidate or expand in other states. In the case of GE, the governor, mayor, GE officials, the media, and commentators all joined in a chorus of praise for(...)

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A lesson on tuition for immigrants

A lesson on tuition for immigrants

Charging illegal immigrants in-state rate is a net plus

ALLOWING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS in Massachusetts to pay in-state rates for tuition and fees for public colleges and universities is an emotional issue, similar to just about every other issue surrounding immigration in the US. But when we peel away the emotions and look at the facts, the case for extending in-state tuition to undocumented students(...)

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Argument

Argument

For the vast majority of citizens, municipal government is the most visible, and arguably most important, level of government, the one closest to home and the primary provider of the basic services on which our quality of life depends. However, the state fiscal crisis in 2002 painfully revealed the vulnerability of local services to the(...)

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Weathering the perfect fiscal storm

One year ago, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation warned of an impending “perfect storm” in the state’s finances that would spell the end of the generous spending growth of recent years. Although the Commonwealth generated revenue surpluses totaling almost $3 billion in the previous three years–while increasing expenditures by almost 20 percent and cutting taxes by(...)

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Counterpoints

Most taxpayers would agree that it is desirable to reduce the Massachusetts income tax rate to 5 percent, especially given a state income tax burden that is one of the highest in the nation. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation shares this view. The real question is how we can achieve that result while preserving the extraordinary(...)

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Counterpoints

Ed Moscovitch’s proposal for a statewide property tax to fund the costs of a basic education in each community in the Commonwealth has two important policy objectives: to sustain the state’s striking success in bringing underfunded schools up to a more adequate level of spending, and to bring about greater tax equity in the financing(...)

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