Senate session, Gaming commission, DeVos at Harvard
— The Trial Court and Probation Service will hold its first Cultural Appreciation Day with more than 30 events held at courts around the state.
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends a groundbreaking ceremony for Insulet’s new manufacturing facility, 100 Nagog Park, Acton, 9 a.m.
— Former presidential candidate and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks to a group of international public policy experts at the 10th annual Public Performance Conference, 120 Tremont St., Boston, 9:15 a.m.
— Mass. Gaming Commission meets with an agenda that includes requests from Northampton to utilize the Community Mitigation Fund and the Mass. Thoroughbred Breeders Association to race at Finger Lakes, MassMutual Center, Springfield, 9:30 a.m.
— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg chairs a meeting of the Massachusetts State Retirement Board, One Winter St. – 8th floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Community Development and Small Business Committee holds a triennial oversight hearing on community service block grants, then hears testimony on a Sen. Chandler zoning reform bill, Room A-1, 10 a.m.
— The Senate holds its first formal session since July 27 and is expected to take up budget overrides approved by the House, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker and Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez celebrate the naming of the Jamaica Way Bridge in honor of late brothers Alexander and Brian Arredondo, Corner of River Road and Huntington Avenue, Boston, 11 a.m.
— The Boston City Council will hold its regular weekly meeting at which members plan to honor recipients of the Shattuck Awards, granted to people for their dedication to public service, Faneuil Hall, 12 p.m.
— Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack plans to deliver the keynote address at MassDOT’s annual Moving Together Conference, Boston Park Plaza Hotel, 50 Park Plaza at Arlington, 12:15 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker talks about the future of higher education in keynote speech at the fifth annual Online Learning Summit, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Norton Woods Conference Center, 136 Irving St., Cambridge, 12:30 p.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 1 p.m.
— The Joint Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee plans to accept testimony on more than 20 bills, including a ‘Massachusetts GI bill’ filed by Sen. Thomas McGee to provide tuition and fee waivers for National Guard members and veterans, Room B-1, 2 p.m.
— Supporters of Senate President Stan Rosenberg host a reception celebrating his 30 years in the Legislature, with many local leaders attending, including Deborah Benson, Jack Connors Jr., John Fish and Philip Johnston, and with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey listed as honorary hosts, UMass Club, One Beacon St. – 32nd floor, 5:30 p.m.
— U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will talk about ‘empowering parents’ at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Kennedy School, Cambridge, 6 p.m.
— Women’s rights champion Gloria Steinem accepts a leadership award at the ‘Shining Star Gala’ hosted by the Victim Rights Law Center, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, 6:30 p.m.
The next big battle: Tax cuts – and how Massachusetts could get hammered
Now that the latest Republican health-care bill that would have screwed Massachusetts has been defeated, Republicans are back with a new tax-cut plan that would screw Massachusetts. The Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Julie Jacobs have the details on the GOP plan to eliminate federal income-tax deductions for state and local taxes, something high-tax blue states like Massachusetts support in order to soften the blow of their higher state and local taxes. The Globe’s Evan Horowitz notes that one third of state filers rely on those deductions. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat, is ripping into the Republican plan, reports Shannon Young at MassLive. About the only one smiling, or, more accurately, smirking, is the Herald’s Michael Graham, who says Massachusetts is finally getting its higher-taxes comeuppance.
Of course, the GOP tax plan puts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker on the spot, once again, as his fellow party members push a plan unpopular in Massachusetts.
Baker administration: OK, OK, we’ll do another transportation study
Hit by two new reports showing widespread concern about the state’s transportation infrastructure, the Baker administration plans to create a new commission to review the state’s transportation needs, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. From Shira: “Asked whether the administration will be open to coming up with new revenue for transportation, (Lt. Gov.) Polito said, ‘That’s something the commission will need to study.’” Care to bet whether this will be the third straight transportation report not to make a specific recommendation on new revenues?
‘The Goldilocks governor’
So why is Republican Gov. Charlie Baker so popular in blue-state Massachusetts? The Globe’s Joshua Miller tries to find out and concludes that he’s a sort of ‘Goldilocks governor,’ i.e. neither too hot nor too cold. It’s about as good an explanation as you’ll get. And Josh is right to note Baker seems in harmony with today’s political zeitgeist, not a shaper or opponent of it. Btw: Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of the ‘Goldilocks principle.’
Audit: State doesn’t have a clue where many sex offenders live
From Bob McGovern and Matt Stout at the Herald: “Hundreds of convicted sex offenders have either gone unaccounted for or haven’t yet been classified, according to a blockbuster audit that caused the state’s public safety office — and Gov. Charlie Baker — to point at high court decisions as a possible reason for the issues.” The report by state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office says that the state lacked addresses of nearly 1,800 sex offenders and failed to classify 936 sex offenders.
Michelle Obama: ‘Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice’
Appearing in Boston yesterday, former First Lady Michelle Obama castigated women who voted for Donald Trump last November, saying, “Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” reports Dialynn Dwyer at Boston.com. Responds Trump supporter Rose Bagley at the Herald: Oh, yeah? Bagley thinks Hillary was, and is, a liar.
Meanwhile, Erica Yee at Boston.com reports how former President Obama felt like he was undergoing “open-heart surgery” when he recently dropped his daughter off at Harvard and had to hide his tears from his Secret Service agents.
Cambridge school librarian rejects Dr. Seuss books donated by First Lady, citing their ‘tired’ nature and ‘racist propaganda’
Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian at the Cambridgeport School, is saying thanks but no thanks to First Lady Melania Trump’s donation of ten Dr. Seuss books to the school, reports Universal Hub. It seems Soeiro finds Dr. Seuss books a “bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature” that are “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.” We’re afraid to ask what she thinks of Make Way for Ducklings, i.e. the provider papa duck and homemaker mama duck, etc.
House restores another $9M, as Senate preps for its own override votes
The House restored another $9.3 million to the state budget yesterday, overriding budget vetoes by Gov. Charlie Baker and bringing the total restored funds to $320 million, despite a shaky revenue picture, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. Today, the Senate gets into the override act, holding its first formal session at the State House since July.
Baker: State’s lawsuit against Amazon is merely ‘routine’
Gov. Charlie Baker is downplaying state legal action against Amazon as it simultaneously tries to woo the company to locate its second headquarters in Massachusetts, saying the state action over taxes was in the works before the e-commerce firm asked for HQ2 bids, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. But while administration officials termed the legal action as “routine,” one former Amazon executive says the lawsuit is anything but routine to Amazon.
Rosenberg: How about a hybrid Boston and ‘satellite’ bid to Amazon?
Senate President Stan Rosenberg appears to have a logical idea: How about making Boston the core of the state’s bid for the new Amazon headquarters, while offering up other ‘satellite’ sites across the state? It’s probably what Amazon is looking for anyway, so Rosenberg’s idea makes sense. Jaclyn Cashman at the Herald agrees. The Herald’s Brian Dowling has the details on Rosenberg’s general proposal. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Scott Kirsner says Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has never lived or worked in Boston, but he does know the area’s strengths and weaknesses.
No good deed goes unpunished: Springfield candidate hosted accused child rapist at her home
Candejah Pink, a recent city council candidate in Springfield, thought she was doing a nice thing by letting a down-on-his-luck guy crash at her home. Turns out he was wanted in New York on charges he held a gun to the head of a 12-year-old girl before raping her in broad daylight in the Bronx. He’s been arrested. Phil Demers at MassLive has the details, including Pink’s horrified and embarrassed reaction to the news.
UMass debate: Is Trump, or is he not, a raging fascist?
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s University Union, which is modeled after the famous Oxford Union at Oxford University, will hold a panel discussion next week on the question, “Is America Becoming a Fascist State?” Before you conclude that the question itself suggests President Trump has already been tried and found guilty in absentia, Diane Lederman reports that visiting scholar Peter Baehr will make an opening argument that the term “fascism” cannot be applied to the Trump administration. Three other UMass professors will respond.
Baker offers help to Puerto Rico while Warren and Markey urge Congressional action
From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker spoke to his counterpart in Puerto Rico on Wednesday to offer assistance in the wake of Hurricane Maria. ‘Today, Governor Baker spoke with Governor Ricardo Rossello to express his heartfelt condolences for the devastating damage and tragedy in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricanes Maria and Irma and offered full support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide all available assistance at Puerto Rico’s request,’ said a Baker spokeswoman Lizzy Guyton.”
Separately, U.S. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are urging Congress to act quickly on aid to the storm-ravished Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, MassLIve also reports.
Like Menino, Walsh is making serious inroads in minority communities
The Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan analyzes Tuesday’s preliminary election results and finds that Mayor Marty Walsh ran surprisingly strong in largely minority neighborhoods in Boston, suggesting he’s on the cusp of what his predecessor accomplished: winning wide and deep support across the city.
African-American women shaking up Boston (and Framingham) politics
Meanwhile, WGBH’s David Bernstein takes a look at Tuesday’s preliminary election results and says that council candidates Lydia Edwards and Kim Janey are just the latest minority female stars changing the political face of Boston. But the changes aren’t happening only in Boston.
In Framingham, Yvonne Spicer, an African-American, is poised to possibly become that city’s first mayor, if she defeats former state Rep. John Stefanini in the November general election, as Brendan Deady reports at WGBH. Btw: We have more on Tuesday’s city council elections in Boston on our Facebook page. We posted the results yesterday. Check ‘em out.
VA will decide Stephen Pina’s fate by week’s end
The Veterans Administration says it will decide by the end of the week how to discipline Brockton resident Stephen Pina after his racially charged Facebook comments on NFL protests went viral and led to his resignation from the city’s recreation commission, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. Pina works at a VA facility in Providence. If Pina loses his job or he’s severely punished in another way, he’ll have a very good First Amendment case to make against the government.
Berkshire hospital asks feds to halt nurses’ strike
Yet another hospital-nurses showdown is looming: Berkshire Medical Center has asked a federal judge to block a planned one-day walkout by some 800 nurses at the Pittsfield hospital’s three facilities, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Lawyers from the two sides could be in court as soon as Friday and the facility is meanwhile mobilizing replacement nurses ahead of the planned Tuesday strike. If the Pittsfield walkout occurs, it would be the third nurses strike of the year in Massachusetts, after similar actions at Tufts Medical Center and Baystate Health in Greenfield.
Besides our high cost of living, it’s also expensive to die in Massachusetts
MarketWatch analyzes inheritance and estate taxes across the country and finds that Massachusetts is tied with other states for having the second highest maximum tax rate (16 percent). Massachusetts also has one of the lowest estate-tax exemptions ($1 million), making us one of the more expensive places to die in the U.S. The most expensive states to pass away in? Pennsylvania – with a 15 percent tax rate and zero exemptions.
Filling in a campaign-donation loophole ….
In a Globe op-ed, Laurence H. Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, and Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, say Massachusetts can be a reform leader if it eliminates a campaign-donation loophole that currently allows foreign-influenced corporation to make political donations. A bill that would close that loophole is now winding its way through the State House.
So where are the most parking tickets issued in Boston?
The results sort of surprised us. We thought the Financial District and/or Seaport would rank highest. Wrong. The BBJ’s David Harris has the details on where not to park illegally in Boston.
Worcester’s welcome budget problem: What to do with extra money
Strong new growth has put Worcester budget writers in the enviable position of having to figure out how to allocate more than $750,000 that wasn’t budgeted for, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. The mayor wants a long-term plan drawn up and some city councilors say the extra cash and a surplus in a health insurance trust show that taxes should be cut.
Rick Pitino is not walking through that door, folks
Local sports fans will find this more than a little interesting: Rick Pitino – a former UMass basketball star and later head coach at Boston University, Providence College and the Boston Celtics – is out as head coach at Louisville following devastating fed allegations that an executive from Adidas and others conspired to steer top recruits to Louisville via six-figure payments to their families, the Washington Post reports. Technically, Pitino is on administrative leave, but he’s effectively gonzo.
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