happening today:

10 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends an event on the Common marking the release of the Boston Common Master Plan.

10:30 a.m. | Attorney General Healey delivers opening remarks for her office’s People’s Law Firm Outreach Day, a virtual summit for service providers to share information on housing assistance, landlord and tenant rights, how customers can reduce energy usage, and more.

11 a.m. | Governor's Council holds a hearing on Gov. Charlie Baker's nomination of Parole Board Chairwoman Gloriann Moroney for a District Court judgeship.

12 p.m. | Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott, and Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque join others in law enforcement at 32BJ SEIU Local 615 headquarters in Boston to support Question 4.

12:00.....CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch speaks at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon.

12:15 p.m. | Massachusetts Teachers Association President Max Page and Dan Cence, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment, debate at Salem State University this year's ballot question to add a 4 percent surtax on household income above $1 million.

6 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speak at a meeting of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce at Michael's in Haverhill.

7 p.m. | Democrat Maura Healey and Republican Geoff Diehl square off in the first televised debate of the gubernatorial campaign hosted by NBC10, NECN and Telemundo.

Many expected that after the primary Republican Geoff Diehl would pivot to the center, if not because of his ideology than out of necessity to make his campaign for governor against Attorney General Maura Healey competitive.

It hasn’t exactly turned out that way. 

With just over three weeks until election day and voting by mail getting started, Diehl has continued to turn to conservative media to get his message out. And that message, at times, has been calibrated to energize the far right.

Consider his schedule yesterday. A day before the first of two debates planned of the cycle with Healey, Diehl made appearances on Newsmax, WRKO’s The Kuhner Report and The First TV, a conservative network started in 2019 and home to Bill O’Reilly. Not exactly broadening his audience, or his appeal.

With Jeff Kuhner pumping him up as a “warrior” who needed to “take it” to Healey tonight, Diehl blamed Healey for supporting policies that he said make Massachusetts a “magnet” for illegal immigration and falsely claimed that the law making undocumented immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses “includes a provision, based on the 2018 motor voter law, that automatically enrolls them to become voters.”

The law actually explicitly prohibits such license applicants from taking part in automatic voter registration.

He also leaned into the GOP talking points that the state’s expanded abortion laws sanction “infanticide” by allowing doctors to deny treatment to newborns who survive failed abortions – something doctors have disputed.

Both issues are likely to come up at tonight’s debate hosted by NBC10, NECN and Telemundo. The question is whether Diehl will soften his talking points in front of a larger statewide audience, or stick to what’s got him here.

Healey has already been trying to paint Diehl as an extremist on abortion, and she’s unlikely to stop now. Diehl is also playing up his underdog status, a la Trump, describing tonight’s debate as four against one, including Healey, the moderator and panelists asking questions.

“I know exactly what I’m walking into, but it’s Ok because I’m speaking for the people of Massachusetts,” Diehl said.

VOTING WITH THEIR FEET?: A new analysis of IRS and Census data performed by the Tax Foundation found that Massachusetts lost 36,982 taxpayers in 2019 and early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, enough to rank it fourth from the bottom nationwide in terms of states losing population. The out-migration accounted for 20,395 filers and about $2.5 billion in adjusted gross income, according to the report, with 2,116 returns with income over $200,000 coming off the books.

Massachusetts trailed only Illinois, California and New York – much larger states – in overall population loss. While the Tax Foundation allowed for the fact that many factors can contribute to someone’s decision to move, the report flagged that states with “progressive tax codes,” or those that charge steeper rates as you move up the income ladder, have seen the greatest loss of population. Massachusetts voters next month will decide whether to add a surtax of 4 percent on all income above $1 million, which would be the state’s first move away from a flat income tax.

MR. POPULAR: Gov. Charlie Baker is not on the ballot this fall, but he’s back on top of the pedestal once again as the nation’s most popular governor. Morning Consult’s quarterly survey of voters and their views on their home state governor put Baker’s approval rating at 74 percent. It was enough to earn the top spot ahead of Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan after Baker fell to third (gasp!) during the second quarter with a 73 percent approval rating.

— Baker legacy embraced by unlikely candidate

Given his popularity, it only makes sense that someone running to succeed Gov. Charlie Baker would campaign in the two-term Republican’s mold. It’s just a bit surprising that it’s Democrat Maura Healey. With the state’s Republican Party running away from the legacy of its standard-bearer for the past eight years, the Globe’s Matt Stout chronicles how it’s Healey – and not GOP nominee Geoff Diehl – who’s been the quickest with a compliment for Baker and the candidate least likely to try to undue what Baker has accomplished if and when she gets into office.

The Boston Globe

— Wu weighing whether to reject Council-backed raises

It was Boston Mayor Michelle Wu who first proposed raising salaries for members of the City Council and the mayor. But what got approved might be even too much for Wu. The council went above and beyond Wu’s recommendations to approve raises of 20 percent for themselves, and to boost the salary of the mayor $43,000 to $250,000 a year. All the raises would not take effect until after the next election for each office. But GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports that Wu is not comfortable with the Council’s decision, and could veto the raises.

GBH News

— Card backs Amore as “serious, credible and moderate”

Former White House chief of staff Andy Card knows a thing or two about how Beacon Hill works. Before he was whispering in the ear of President George W. Bush, Card served in the House with Republicans like Paul Cellucci, who would go on to become governor and mentor to Gov. Charlie Baker. So it wasn’t a huge surprise Tuesday to see Card following Baker’s lead and endorsing Anthony Amore for state auditor, calling him a “credible” Republican who will help bring balance to Beacon Hill. And if Democrats dominate in other races as is expected, Card said he expects them to be even more “domineering,” reports MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz.


— Lawsuit alleges state failing disabled confined to nursing homes

Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration are being sued by six residents with disabilities who say the state has not done enough to provide services that would help them transition from a nursing home to a more independent living facility. The Globe’s Nick Stoico has more on the class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

The Boston Globe

— MBTA needs new leadership, top Dems say

The chairs of the Transportation Committee are putting the next administration notice: We will look for more financial resources to help the MBTA, but a change in leadership must be part of the solution. CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl has more from Rep. William Straus and Sen. Brendan Crighton, who went on the Codcast.

CommonWealth Magazine

— The process of banning flame retardants

The Eagle-Tribune’s Christian Wade reports on how Massachusetts is implementing a new ban on the use of flame-retardant chemicals in products like children’s toys, furniture and carpeting after they’ve been shown to cause health problems. But the process of developing regulations has not been easy, with some businesses like those in the window treatment industry saying there are just no alternatives.

The Eagle-Tribune

— Halloween with a little green

Spooky treats are everywhere this time of year. But if you’re looking for a little something extra in Halloween candy, you may have to go looking. The BBJ’s Cassie McGrath reports on one cannabis company’s efforts to make holiday-themed products, and why testing requirements, restrictions on marketing and other hurdles make selling seasonal pot products an ordeal. 

Boston Business Journal

— Treasury investigating use of relief funds for migrant flight

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Inspector General has told members of the Bay State delegation it is investigating whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis improperly deployed federal relief funds to deliver planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last month. George Brennan of the MV Times and Politico’s Lisa Kashinsky report the inquiry comes after several lawmakers called for scrutiny over whether APRA funds were used in the scheme.

Martha’s Vineyard Times | Politico

— Judge finds New Bedford Councilor Dunn not guilty of OUI

New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn was found not guilty of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol by a judge on Tuesday, 17 months after a late-night crash that ensnared the local police department in controversy. Anastasia Lennon of The New Bedford Light reports Dunn will serve a year’s probation after two other charges from that night were continued without a finding.

The New Bedford Light

— Worcester landmark Rotmans to close after 66 years in business

Rotman’s of Worcester, a landmark in the city since it opened in 1956, is planning to liquidate its inventory of furniture and mattresses and close for good, likely before the end of the year.  Craig Semon of the Telegram reports the decision to wind down was made because there’s no next generation waiting to take over what has always been a family business. 

Telegram & Gazette

— End of a trend: Gas prices climb for first time in months

It was fun while it lasted. For the first time since mid-June, prices at the pump in Massachusetts increased compared to the week before, popping higher by 10 cents per gallon after 16 consecutive weeks of decline, Stephen Peterson of the Sun Chronicle reports. Gas prices fell from just over $5 to $3.48 before rising to $3.58 per gallon on average last week, a survey by AAA found.

The Sun Chronicle

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