Community block grant announcement
Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay will attend a Community Development Block Grant announcement, Grand Staircase, 10:30 a.m.
Economic development hearing
A scaled-down version of Gov. Baker’s economic development bill that emerged last week from a House-Senate committee heads to the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets for review, Hearing Room A-1, 11 a.m.
Committee to review Boston speed limit bill
The Joint Transportation Committee will hear testimony on a bill, backed by city of Boston officials, to lower Boston’s speed limit in thickly-settled or business districts to 20 miles per hour, Room A-2, 12 p.m.
‘Beyond the Wall’
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian co-host a screening of ‘Beyond the Wall,’ a documentary that followed six prison inmates after their release in an attempt to find ways to make re-entry more successful. The documentary was filmed in Lowell, Lawrence and the Middlesex Jail and House of Correction, Room 428, 2:30 p.m.
State revenue shortfall could sink this year’s sales tax holiday
For years, some lawmakers have bemoaned the state’s sales tax holiday each August, saying it eats too much into state finances. This year, the summer holiday scrooges may have finally found their ultimate argument: The unexpected state revenue shortfall of up to $750 million, reports MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg. “The Senate has increasingly been skeptical about whether this is a good use of $20 million, now $25 million a year,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “It’s on the table for discussion.” Even Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledges that nixing the tax holiday should be on the negotiating table, though he isn’t committing either way on where he stands on the tax break .
Note: Baker filed a temporary budget yesterday to tide the state over for a month till he and lawmakers come up with a way to plug the projected deficit. Also, there’s apparently a lot of speculation at the State House that a planned income tax cut might not be triggered next year, reports Michael Norton at State House New Service (pay wall).
Paging Barry Manilow: Tiny rooftop ‘cabanas’ in Boston priced at $350K
Just when you think you’ve seen it all in terms of Boston’s real estate prices, such as last week’s purchase of a penthouse condo by an American-turned-Irish billionaire for more than $35 million, along comes news that the new Pierce Boston building is touting 150- to 250-square-foot, open-air, rooftop “cabanas” – with wet bars, it should be noted – for $300,000 to $350,000 each, the Globe’s Tim Logan reports.
Meanwhile, a slew of developers have put in bids to buy the 1-acre Winthrop Square garage site from the city for anywhere from $50 million to $150 million, the Herald’s Donna Goodison reports. That’s one acre for as much as $150,000,000.00, to be clear. What’s the price per square inch, let alone per square foot, for these projects?
Note: The bidding for the Winthrop Square site, where developers hope to build a skyscraper, comes at a time when office building landlords are having a hard time finding tenants to fill space in the upper floors of towers, as the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock reports (pay wall). So that makes the Winthrop Square bids sound even more other-worldly.
Mass Pike tolls are not only staying, they may be going up
Even though Mass Turnpike bonds will be paid off early next year, look for Pike tolls to not only remain but possibly even increase in some areas, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. Officially, MassDOT is saying no, no, no to the idea of any toll increase. Toll revenue will remain neutral. But Glaun caught one DOT official talking about the high cost of maintenance and how tolls haven’t changed in 26 years in some areas of the state and … you get the idea.
Veolia to relocate HQ to Boston
It’s not quite the household name of GE, but Boston has attracted its second major energy corporation to the city, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports. Veolia North America, an arm of the huge French conglomerate, will relocate its U.S. headquarters from Chicago, adding 50 new Boston-area jobs in the process. And unlike GE, the energy company will not receive any state or local tax incentives related to the move. Maybe there’s hope yet that some of the city’s vacant office spaces can be filled. Veolia is planning to move its employees into Exchange Place tower at 53 State St.
Senate charter school bill, RIP
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg has finally acknowledged that the Senate’s compromise charter schools bill, which many believed arrived dead on arrival in April, is indeed mort, State News Service reports. When a reporter yesterday suggested the bill had run into a slowdown, Rosenberg laughed and asked: “Slowdown in the Legislature? Does a dead stop equal slowdown? … I expect this issue is going to get resolved by the people on the ballot.”
And TTP, RIP
We had to look it up to remind ourselves: TTP stands for The Trans-Pacific Partnership, the proposed federal free trade deal that, believe it or not, is still around, sort of like the state Senate’s charters schools bill. In a Globe op-ed, Barney Frank officially declares TTP dead – and says it’s been dead for a while – due to intense opposition from across the US political spectrum.
After Orlando tragedy, Healey’s office wins a Glock gun case
As the nation debates gun-safety measures in the wake of the recent Orlando massacre, a federal appeals court has backed Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office when it comes to restricting the sale of Glock firearms in the state, a ruling that came prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal yesterday to hear a challenge to a Connecticut ban on the sale of many semiautomatic rifles, reports the Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan.
In the Massachusetts case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an argument by two local gun dealers, Concord Armory and Woburn’s Precision Point Firearms, that the state Glock regulation that led to the ban is too vaguely worded. The decision was issued late Friday and upholds a lower court’s ruling.
It’s a small win for gun-control advocates, who haven’t won many gun-safety battles of late, certainly not in Washington, D.C., notes the NYT.
DeLeo’s ‘integrity’ task force draws waves of … shoulder shrugs
Yesterday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo followed through on a stated goal of creating a new ‘integrity’ task force, proposing an 11-member group that would be helmed by the chairmen of the House and Senate Ethics committees, Rep. Christopher Markey of Dartmouth and Sen. Cynthia Creem of Newton. The duo would be charged with looking at the laws governing the conduct of public officials and lobbyists as well as financial disclosure and campaign finance statutes, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at Wicked Local.
But Senate President Stan Rosenberg yesterday recalled how he served on a similar group years ago. “We spent over a year and reports got filed and we implemented none of it,” said Rosenberg, as quoted in a separate SHNS piece.
Stan sounds really excited about the new task force. Don’t you think?
July trial date set on Wampanoag casino project
A Federal judge will not issue an injunction to stop work on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s First Light casino in Taunton and told the tribe and residents seeking to block the project to be ready for a speedy trial, George Brennan of the Cape Cod Times reports. A trial on claims that the Department of the Interior erred when it allowed the tribe to take the Taunton land into trust is now scheduled to begin on July 11. The tribe hopes to open part of its casino as soon as next summer.
Quincy councilors want housing in downtown plan
Members of the Quincy City Council say a plan by Mayor Thomas Koch to revitalize downtown is lacking in affordable housing and they indicated they’ll only approve the project when that is changed, Patrick Ronan of the Patriot Ledger reports. The mayor’s development team says the plan needs to move forward to allow the city to borrow funds to begin the work and to keep a planned private apartment development on track.
Greenway art installation cost triple its original estimate
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy spent $1.7 million to bring a high-profile art installation to the city, three times higher than the original budget, according to a report by Matt Stout and Jack Encarnacao in the Herald. The Greenway says the Janet Echelman art installation of netting that rose as high as 350 feet over the park was funded by donations and private grants, but critics say the conservancy still receives millions in public funds and does a poor job accounting for where the funds go.
Worcester eyes downtown food truck zone
The Worcester City Council will weigh a plan to create a downtown food truck zone, Sam Bonacci of the Worcester Business Journal reports. The zone would be the second in the city following passage of food truck-friendly regulations that city manager Edward Augustus says have already helped spur street activity and interest among vendors.
A Brockton veteran of Normandy beach leaves behind a heartbroken bride of 77 years
It’s always sad to see yet another World War II vet passing into history. There’s so few left. But the passing away of Brockton’s Carmen Poliseno, 99, who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944, is especially poignant because he leaves behind the woman he married before the US even entered the war, reports Maria Papadopoulos of the Enterprise at Wicked Local. “We had a wonderful life together,” said Theresa Poliseno, 97.
The couple’s daughter, Amelia “Mimi” Hennen of Raynham, is worried about her heartbroken mother. “It’s hard. She’s been in his life 77 years and then all of a sudden he’s gone,” she said. “I said, ‘Ma, of course you’re going to feel like this. You’ve been together for 77 years. Not many people can say that.’”
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