A new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation shows "the 50 largest cities and towns in Massachusetts face a crushing $20 billion liability for retiree health care benefits that threatens to wreak havoc with local government."

According to the press release, "The report concludes that funding these obligations would place an overwhelming burden on taxpayers. The average single family homeowner in Lawrence would pay an extra $180,000 in taxes over 30 years to meet that city’s obligation. In Boston, the average single family homeowner would pay nearly $100,000 in additional taxes. In seven other communities—Worcester, Lowell, Brockton, Newton, Revere, Attleboro, and Holyoke—the average homeowner would pay more than $50,000 in additional taxes over 30 years."

It was eye-opening to read that municipal employees are not even required to enroll in Medicare upon retirement, as state employees are. It boggles the mind that local taxpayers are paying for retiree health care benefits when there is a perfectly good federal plan that could cover these employees at a fraction of the cost - and by the way it's the plan that the rest of us will be relying on (or already are).

The report offers practical recommendations to control these spiraling costs so that taxpayer dollars can actually be spent on government services rather than retiree health care. Read the full report here


08/31/2012 05:28

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