Happening Today

Happy holidays!

No government-related events scheduled today due to the upcoming Christmas holiday. … Sharon High School students, however, will indeed perform at the State House today, Grand Staircase, 11:15 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Prepay mania: Municipalities deluged with residents trying to prepay property taxes

Thanks to the newly passed Republican tax plan, local city and town officials across the state are being deluged with calls from panicking homeowners wondering if they can and should prepay next year’s property taxes before lower tax deductions take effect in 2018, reports Kathleen Conti and Hiawatha Bray at the Globe. How bad is the panic? Even Milton town treasurer James McAuliffe has prepaid his property taxes.

The big political questions: How will this and other tax changes play out next year in Massachusetts? Will some voters take their wrath out on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who recently softened his stance on the tax package? On the three GOP Senate candidates who have embraced the tax-code overhaul? Questions, questions.

Btw: MassLive has a excellent summary of the GOP tax plan and how it will effect single and household taxpayers, right down to each and every tax bracket and deduction.

Boston Globe

Republicans brace for 2018

The New York Times reports that some Republicans are indeed worried about a major nationwide voter backlash next year due to the GOP-approved tax plan. Then again, other Republicans say many Americans will like what they see when lower tax rates show up on their weekly payroll checks.

Both the Globe’s Astead Herndon and the NYT do report that, tax rates and deductions aside, Republicans are still facing daunting odds next year – and Democrats are pumped. The major non-tax-bill reason: Donald Trump.


Tax plan will cost Harvard and MIT tens of millions of dollars

For years, major universities have fended off local attempts by progressive Democrats to tax their endowment funds. But this time it was conservative Republicans in Washington who pushed to tax endowment funds – and they succeeded. Harvard is now saying the GOP tax plan that calls for taxing endowment returns will cost it $43 million and MIT says it will cost the university $10 million, reports Max Stendahl at the BBJ. Amherst College, Williams College and Wellesley College are among those also expected to get whacked by the new tax.


The Law funeral and dueling pundits (sort of)

As Pope Francis’s attendance yesterday at the late Cardinal Bernard Law’s funeral continued to draw criticism from clergy sex-abuse survivors (Herald), the local debate, so to speak, over how to remember Law rages. At WBUR, Eileen McNamara, the former Globe columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is harsh and shows little mercy toward a man who aided and abetted a pedophile network within the church. At WGBH, Emily Rooney, host of ‘GBH’s ‘Beat the Press’ and former host of ‘Greater Boston,’ is less harsh and shows a little more mercy (just a little) toward a man who did a few good things but undeniably aided and abetted a pedophile network within the church. There’s not much of a distinction, but it’s there. In a post earlier this week, MassterList somewhat awkwardly took the Rooney approach. But let’s be clear: Law died in disgrace. Period. 

Ex-Globe reporter apologizes, editor acknowledges error in not naming him earlier

CommonWealth magazine has the details on the latest developments coming out of the Globe regarding the resignation of one of its State House reporters and the paper’s failure to previously name the reporter in a story about sexual harassment, to wit: The former reporter, Jim O’Sullivan, is publicly apologizing and Globe editor Brian McGrory, in a memo to readers, is acknowledging that the paper should have named him in its prior story. Fyi: CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan was the one who initially reported the sexual-harassment incident involved O’Sullivan, who McGrory said in his memo made “lewd propositions to one newsroom colleague and to two women that we are aware of on Beacon Hill.”


GateHouse vows to push Herald’s political and sports coverage

Speaking of newspapers, this is good news for political junkies who respect the Herald’s scrappy political coverage (and its sports coverage, as well). From Jordan Graham at the Herald: “GateHouse Media plans to throw its advertising and promotions muscle behind the Boston Herald and leverage its sports and political coverage if it is successful in acquiring the paper, the head of the national company said.” Of course, GateHouse’s acquisition of the Herald hinges on bankruptcy proceedings and the quality of future news coverage depends on how planned post-bankruptcy staff cuts are handled. 

Boston Herald

Healey: Alleged victims have stepped forward in Hefner case

Here’s one scandal mystery out of the way. From Tori Bedford at WGBH: “Attorney General Maura Healey told WGBH News victims have come forward, sparking an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Senate President Stan Rosenberg’s husband Bryon Hefner.” Previously, there were questions whether they would step forward. Now they have. 


Sen. Eldridge pushes for creation of State House sexual-harassment panel

Speaking of sexual harassment at the State House, from Matt Stout at the Herald: “A proposal is surfacing in the scandal-rocked state Senate to create an independent commission that will hear and investigate State House harassment complaints, and potentially funnel allegations to local and state authorities. State Sen. Jamie Eldridge is prepping legislation to create the nine-person panel, along with a general counsel and staff, that would handle complaints made by staffers, lawmakers, lobbyists and others who do business with the Legislature.” 

Boston Herald

Brandeis’s Anita Hill headed to Hollywood to battle a familiar problem

Brandeis University’s Anita Hill knows a thing or two about sexual-harassment controversies, it’s safe to say, and now she’s headed to Hollywood to lead a new anti-harassment commission pushed by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, reports the New York Times.


Does Boston need a night mayor?

Marty Walsh would probably argue that being mayor of Boston is a 24/7 job, but the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau raises the prospect of the city appointing a so-called ‘night mayor’ to help liven up what is regarded by many as a snoozer of a night life in the Hub. Experts say Boston—or any city, for that matter—doesn’t actively oversee and promote what happens after dark and it’s missing out on massive economic and social opportunities. 

Boston Globe

Right to your doorstep: Commission approves new pot regulations, including home deliveries

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission yesterday, as expected, approved a series of recommendations for the pot industry as it gears up for next year’s launch of legal retail sales of pot in Massachusetts. Among other recommendations, the commission OK’d new marijuana cafes and home deliveries of pot, with stipulations, of course. The Herald’s Brian Dowling has the details.

Boston Herald

Rep. Smizik won’t seek re-election next year

After serving 18 years in the House and most recently chairing the House’s Global Warming and Climate Change Committee, Rep. Frank Smizik, 73, a Brookline Democrat, announced yesterday he won’t be running for re-election next year, reports Emma Murphy at Wicked Local Brookline. “While I’ll miss my work in the Legislature, I’ll now have more time to enjoy our wonderful community, my family and my friends,” Smizik said.

Wicked Local

Defeated Senate candidate: Hefner scandal ‘hurt our momentum’

Well, it certainly didn’t help, we know that. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports at the Telegram that Leominster City Councilor Susan Chalifoux Zephir is eyeing a possible rematch against Republican Dean Tran, who defeated the Democratic Zephir in a special Senate election earlier this month, and she says the recent controversy surrounding former Senate President Stan Rosenberg and his husband Bryon Hefner hurt her election prospects three weeks ago. “How could it not?” she asks.


Is the Force with Pina Prinzivalli as she battles Rep. Jim ‘Kylo Ren’ Miceli?

Republican candidate Pina Prinzivalli is pulling out all the Star Wars stops on her Facebook page (scroll down to second video) as she takes on Wilmington Democrat Rep. Jim Miceli in the 19th Middlesex House district. The short video mimics the Star Wars movies’ famous opening crawl, with accompanying Star Wars theme music, except this time it’s warning of evil State House scandals and pay raises. Prinzivalli video via SHNS.

Facebook (Prinzivalli)

There’s a new US Attorney in town

Andrew Lelling, a former prosecutor here and in Virginia, was sworn in yesterday as U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, the Associated Press reports at the Globe. Lelling, who was nominated by President Trump in September, was recently confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate.

Amherst officials expect feds to yank police grant

Amherst officials are steeling themselves for the anticipated loss a $100,000 federal community policing grant because of the town’s sanctuary policy, Scott Merzbach reports in the Hampshire Gazette. The town hasn’t been told its so-called Byrne grant isn’t coming, but the Department of Justice recently sent warning letters to a host of cities and states warning that the cash won’t flow to communities that don’t work closely with immigration enforcement officials. 


Meanwhile, feds release $100M to start GLX, praise Baker

The Baker administration couldn’t have written the fed statement better itself. From SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ: “The MBTA gave the team that will design and build the Green Line Extension the go-ahead to begin its work on Thursday, after the federal government released the first $100 million of funding for the trolley line extension. … ‘Governor Charlie Baker’s commitment to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in the building of this project was persuasive,’ U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a statement. ‘The region can now look forward to an enhanced transportation network as the Green Line is extended to serve tens of thousands of area residents daily.”


There’s toxic work environments, then there’s this toxic work environment

If you’re liberal, socialist, moderate, black, Latino or Jewish, you’re more than likely to instantly feel a tad bit uncomfortable the moment you walk into a Boston shipping warehouse of home-security firm SimpliSafe, where the walls are festooned with white-nationalist posters, anti-socialist slogans, Pepe the Frog memes and where employees have complained of a racially hostile environment, according to a report by Eoin Higgins at The Dig, via Universal Hub.

The Dig

MGM Springfield to have that Rolls Royce feel

Nine months before its expected opening, MGM Springfield is offering a preview of some of the design features that will greet gamblers at the $960 million resort, including features that recall the city’s onetime past as a high-end automobile manufacturing center. Jim Kinney of MassLive reports that other features will include architectural details salvaged from some of the buildings razed to make way for the casino — and nods to Dr. Seuss and other famous Springfield residents.


West Station’s projected ridership seems off compared to what’s happening at Boston Landing

State officials are projecting relatively low ridership figures for the proposed West Station in Allston, partly justifying their decision not to open the station until 2040. But CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports that others think the projections may be wildly off, based on the higher-than-expected ridership figures at the recently opened Boston Landing station in Brighton.


Five things to watch for in 2018 in Massachusetts

In a nutshell, here are the five things the Ledger’s Gerry Tuoti says to watch for in 2018 in Massachusetts: pot, state elections, ballot questions, senate presidency, and Amazon. It’s a good list. Check it out.

Patriot Ledger

Happy holidays: State’s jobless rate fall to 3.6 percent as employers keep hiring

This is nice economic news heading into the long holiday weekend. From Jim Kinney at MassLive: “Statewide unemployment fell to 3.6 percent in November and the state added 6,700 jobs during the month. This is the fourth month in a row that unemployment has fallen, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”


Merry Christmas – and see you next Tuesday!

MassterList would like to wish all our readers a merry Christmas and happy holidays in general – and we’ll see you next Tuesday morning.

Sunday public affairs TV

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main focus: Christmas in New England.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. A count down of the top ten business stories of 2017 and predictions about the year ahead with Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Goodwill regional CEO Joanne Hilferty, program manager Shaquanta Bailey and program participant Frank Hudacek talk about Goodwill’s local services.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. This week’s main topic: Last Minute Holiday Stocking Stuffers.

Stay tuned in 2018 for more Beacon Hill Town Square events!

Today’s Headlines


BPS student in ICE custody; fellow students raising money for him – Universal Hub


‘We want the Herald to thrive,’ says Gatehouse CEO – Boston Herald

Woman named as Lawrence’s first Latina detective – Eagle-Tribune

Leominster’s Chalifoux-Zephir reflects on loss, ponders 2018 run – Telegram & Gazette

New rules set off rush to prepay taxes – Boston Globe


Jury finds first batch of inauguration protestors not guilty of riot charges – NPR

Meeting of Trump’s inner circle becomes griping session as advisers vent over 2018 strategy – Washington Post

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