Governor addresses chamber
Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, Sheraton Needham Hotel, 100 Cabot St, Needham, 8:30 a.m.
Interstate 95 off-ramp
Gov. Baker joins Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, legislators and local officials for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $44 million project to construct a new off-ramp from Interstate 95 onto Dedham Street and make multi-modal improvements to the Dedham Street corridor, 777 Dedham Street, Canton, 10 a.m.
Flynn Cruiseport ceremony
City and state leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, Gov. Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, attend a dedication ceremony at the Flynn Cruiseport Boston at the Black Falcon Terminal, renamed in honor of former Mayor Ray Flynn, One Black Falcon Ave., South Boston, 11:30 a.m.
Road bill signing
A ceremony is held for Gov. Baker’s signing of the $200 million road bill, Room 360, 2 p.m.
Lifting the Cap on Kids
Representatives of the Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids join Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Marjorie Decker to host a ‘Diaper Day’ to raise awareness about a family cap that prevents welfare benefits from flowing to some children, Room 428, 2 p.m.
Healey at gun summit
Attorney General Maura Healey gives the keynote address at the ‘A Nation United for a Safer Future’ gun violence prevention summit, Grand Hyatt Washington, 100 H St. NW, Washington, D.C., 4:30 p.m.
Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka receives the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Legislator of the Year award at the group’s annual dinner, with the keynote address given by CNN senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin, Westin Boston Waterfront, 425 Summer St., Boston, 5:30 p.m.
State facing $462 million shortfall due to disastrous April revenue numbers
The state is now facing a nearly half-billion dollar budget shortfall after key April revenue numbers fell well short of projections, prompting talk of further short-term budget cuts and long-term ways of dealing with a budget now seriously and consistently out of whack, reports the Globe’s Joshua Miller and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). The April revenue collapse not only effects the current budget, with only a few months left in the fiscal year, but it’s probably going to force lawmakers to alter revenue projections for next fiscal year’s $40 billion budget.
It’s hard to see how the Baker administration can nip-and-tuck its way out of this giant budget hole, but we’ll see. One other point: Does this constitute “hard” economic data that suggests something’s also amiss with the state’s economy, which has been slowing over the past two quarters? Answer: Yes.
Revenue chairmen: Let’s evaluate whether special tax breaks really work
As if on cue, state Sen. Michael Brady and Rep. Jay R. Kaufman, cochairmen of the Joint Committee on Revenue, say they have an idea that could potentially save the state millions of dollars: Conducting formal evaluations about whether various corporate tax breaks are actually producing the economic results promised. In a Globe op-ed, the two say Massachusetts is an outlier by not having a formal evaluation process for such programs.
Are House Republicans about to punch an even bigger hole in the state budget?
House Republicans in Washington plan to hold a showdown vote today on compromise legislation that would repeal and replace ObamaCare, a move that, if ultimately approved, could lead to huge cuts in federal funds flowing to Massachusetts. “We have enough votes,” U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority leader, is quoted as saying by the NYT. “It’ll pass.” Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, in a STAT opinion piece, says ‘TrumpCare’ is also an attack on mental health care.
Trump’s tax holiday could allow Bay State firms to bring home $119B
Maybe this could turn into an eventual source of tax revenue for the state. The state’s top ten firms, led by General Electric, are holding at least $119 billion in offshore accounts – and some or most of that money could be coming back to the U.S. and Massachusetts if President Trump’s proposed one-time tax holiday is ever approved, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan. Besides GE’s $82 billion parked offshore, other state firms with money overseas include Thermo Fisher ($12.5 billion) and Boston Scientific ($9.8 billion). Greg has a lot more details and stats.
Moulton: ‘I’m not running for president’
The media will probably find a way to string the Moulton-for-president story out for months, if not years. But U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, the recent subject of presidential speculation in the New York Times and elsewhere, says, categorically, absolutely, really and truly, he isn’t a candidate for president. “I’m just being honest — I’m not running for president,” Moulton said during an interview yesterday on WGBH, as reported by Tori Bedford. But is he talking about “currently” not running – and/or what year is he talking about, 2020 or 2024? Presto! The story lives! (We knew we’d find a way.)
‘Targeting Elizabeth Warren as a liberal supervillain’
From a leading GOP super PAC to the Republican National Committee, Republicans are increasingly targeting U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as a “liberal supervillain on the national stage, hoping to turn her into political kryptonite for Democratic candidates for Congress and tarnish her appeal in advance of a potential 2020 presidential bid,” reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane.
Editorial defends UMass’s ban of Tibet flag at commencement
The Republican newspaper has an editorial defending the University of Massachusetts’s decision to ban a graduating student from carrying the flag of her native Tibet, in apparent protest of China’s takeover of Tibet in 1951, at the university’s commencement. Besides creating a potential international incident, the editorial argues that allowing the flag would open the door for other protesters to demand similar rights. “If the (current) policy is waived for Tibet, should it be waived for Taiwan? For Palestinian supporters? For any group that feels its rightful nationality is being denied?”
The Hampshire Gazette’s Dusty Christensen has more on the flag flap and how the student, Kalsang Nangpa, is pressing her case on social media and hoping to enlist the support of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
‘State’s highest court tells man who keeps filing motions it’s had quite enough’
From Universal Hub’s one and only Adam Gaffin: “The Supreme Judicial Court today put Kaveh L. Afrasiabi on notice: The next time he files an appeal with them before a trial he’s involved in is over, he better have some pretty darn good reasons, or they will impose sanctions – like not even letting him file more appeals.”
Rep. Walsh won’t run for Framingham mayor, citing health issues
State Rep. Chris Walsh won’t be running for mayor of Framingham and will instead remain in the House, citing the need to undergo continuing treatments for lymphoma, Jim Haddadin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Former state Rep. John Stefanini is still expected to be in the race and may be joined by two relative newcomers who also pulled nomination papers: Joshua Horrigan, a 25-year-old Framingham native and minister, and Priscila Sousa, a onetime State House intern who volunteered for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign.
Open Senate seat: Barrows out, Shortsleeve in
State Rep. Jay Barrows, a Democrat, won’t be running in the special election for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. James Timilty, but Joe Shortsleeve, a Democrat and former WBZ anchorman, says he’s definitely running, reports Jim Hand at the Sun Chronicle.
Fenway fans take personal action, beyond safe and feel-good standing ovations
Following the embarrassing Adam Jones incident on Monday night at Fenway Park, a number of fans are pushing back at those hurling or even muttering racist remarks at the ballpark. Both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald report on one fan who has been barred for life from Fenway for making racists remarks about the national-anthem singer, an action that was taken after a complaint from the father of a bi-racial son. Meanwhile, bleacher fans cheered Adam Jones and wouldn’t tolerate even a “you suck” chant aimed at Jones, reports the Globe.
Finally, Sox player Mookie Betts has it exactly right: It’s time to start personally identifying the deranged individuals hurling these racist slurs. Enough with “conversations” and pundit pontificating and feel-good standing ovations. It’s time to root these guys out.
Gov. Baker to sign $200 million road bill today
At a State House ceremony, Gov. Charlie Baker today will finally sign the slightly delayed $200 million road bill, a move that brings some relief to municipal officials eager to start spring road projects, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. The Senate passed the road bill yesterday after some lawmakers attempted to turn it into a multi-year appropriation, at the request of municipalities, but lawmakers opted for yet another annual appropriation.
Markey pushes bill that would limit Trump from launching a nuclear first strike
From Shannon Young at MassLive: “U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, made the case Wednesday for advancing legislation that would limit Donald Trump and future presidents’ ability to launch a nuclear first strike, contending that nearly 500,000 Americans have endorsed the measure.” Though the law would apply to future presidents, Markey isn’t hiding the fact he just doesn’t trust Trump with his finger on the button.
Pub crawl turns into public chaos, prompting call for ban in Lowell
At least one Lowell official wants the city to consider banning pub crawls after one devolved into a melee that resulted in several arrests and at least one medical call last weekend, Alana Melanson reports in the Lowell Sun. License Commissioner Martha Howe said she hoped that board would look into possible ways to curtail or ban pub-crawl events, which are marketed by and toward UMass Lowell students. “I don’t know of any law prohibiting a pub crawl or any mechanism where the board can prohibit it, but we’re certainly going to look into it,” she said.
Trump transition leaves Cape seashore group in limbo
A nine-member volunteer commission that advises the superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore has been told it won’t be meeting for the foreseeable future, apparently as a result of the transition to the Trump administration, Mary Ann Bragg of the Cape Cod Times reports. The board began meeting in 1961 and some members had strong reactions to the news: “There aren’t words that you can print that tell you what I think of the administration and the way they are handling the nation’s resources,” Mary-Jo Avellar, who represents Provincetown on the board.
Rep. Collins pushes bill that would require contractors to hire the disabled
From the Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan: “A South Boston lawmaker is pushing a bill that would require state contractors to have the disabled make up 10 percent of their workforce — a measure one critic says will drive up costs, burden businesses and prompt employers to angle work-arounds. The proposal, sponsored by state Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston) would require any contract for services with the state to have at least 10 percent of employees hired within the contract be those with disabilities.”
Builder blames union-only contracts for escalating Wynn casino costs
Greg Beeman, president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts, writes at CommonWealth magazine that escalating construction costs for Steve Wynn’s new Everett casino are tied to a project labor agreement (PLA) that Wynn agreed to before the mega-development got underway. No mention of escalating construction costs in general for all contractors, union and non-union alike, it should be noted.
Sean Spicer provides more reasons for Patriots haters to hate the Pats
Sean Spicer, press secretary for President Trump, made yet another reference to the New England Patriots yesterday, this time comparing Hillary Clinton’s contention that she would have won the election if it was held in October to a team bragging it could have won a game if it ended in the third quarter, a reference to the Pats’ come-from-behind Super Bowl, reports Jaclyn Reiss at the Globe. Spicer is from Rhode Island and a big Pats fan.
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