9 a.m. | Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets. Its agenda includes assessment and accountability results, Commissioner Jeff Riley's goals for 2022-2023, and an amendment to bullying and retaliation regulations.
9 a.m. | Regional Transit Authority Council meets to discuss workforce shortages and hiring challenges affecting both the MBTA and the state's 15 RTAs.
10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker joins Secretary of Veterans' Services Cheryl Poppe, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant Major General Gary Keefe, legislators and military families at Hanscom Air Force Base for a ceremonial signing of the SPEED Act.
10 a.m. | Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is among those expected to testify at a Joint Committee on Transportation oversight hearing into safety failures at the MBTA.
10 a.m. | U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley embark on a "statewide road trip" to celebrate President Joe Biden's action to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt with stops planned in Boston, Brockton, Worcester and Springfield.
12 p.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito delivers remarks at the Blue Future Conference at the Hotel 1620 Plymouth Harbor.
7 p.m. | Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen rally at Faneuil Hall with conservative radio talk show host Jeff Kuhner.
New research published by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center aims to undercut one of the central arguments against the millionaire’s tax – that it would impact neighborhood small business owners.
MassBudget’s Kurt Wise writes that fewer than seven of every thousand tax filers in Massachusetts have income over $1 million, including small businesses owners.
And while complete data on business sales is not collected, Wise points to data collected by researchers at BizBuySell.com showing that of the 1,400 sales of businesses in Massachusetts for $3.5 million or less from 2017 through the third quarter of 2022 only 123 sold for more than $1 million.
The median sale price, according to the website, was $290,000. And even business owners who do sell from more than $1 million may not pay the Question 1 surtax after accounting for the original purchase price of the business, asset depreciation and other deductions that would lower the net gain.
“In short, for each of the many reasons outlined above, very few small businesses ever would sell for amounts that would require the sellers to pay any Fair Share tax on the proceeds from the sale,” Wise said.
Dan Cence, a spokesman for the business-backed Coalition to Stop the Tax Hike Amendment, said the MassBudget analysis fails to account for the fact that Question 1 would amend the Constitution and “last generations.” Though the income threshold under the proposal would increase with inflation, Cence said not only are businesses gaining value rapidly, but so are homes.
One in five houses in Massachusetts are valued at more than $1 million, Cence said.
Of course, like businesses the sale of a house for more than $1 million doesn’t mean the owner is taxed on that income. Capital gains taxes take into account the net proceeds after factoring in deductions for the original purchase price of the home, the primary residence deduction and other home improvements.
Question 1 supporters on Monday actually held a press conference to call on local television stations to take down ads from opponents that suggest the tax rate would double for thousands of residents, including retirees, when they sell their home.
“‘One-time’ occurrences of $1 million income are relatively rare overall, and in fact much rarer for the middle-class. It is far more common for tax filers who exceed $1 million in annual income to do so year over year,” MassBudget’s Phineas Baxandall wrote in a separate paper.
— If it’s good for New York….
With recent polling showing that Massachusetts voters may be inclined to keep the law making driver’s licenses available to immigrants unable to prove legal status, GBH’s Chris Burrell reports that in neighboring New York where a similar law is already on the books arrests for unlicensed driving has dropped. Public safety was the main argument made by supporters in the Legislature this year before they passed the law. But the MassGOP and others have questioned the positive impacts reported in some of the 16 other states like California that have adopted such policies.
— An election system under duress
In the latest installment of the paper’s series on elections and democracy, the Globe’s Tal Kopan reports on how the country’s election system, which is built around local control, was under strain before 2020. But the stress caused by the pandemic and Trump helping to sow distrust in local officials and their ability to accurately count ballots has only compounded the issue of shrinking budgets and more options for voters to participate.
— Endangered right whale population dips again
The newest report on the health of the North Atlantic right whale population shows that the number of these mammals swimming in the waters off New England has fallen from 348 in 2020 to 340, with fewer calves being born in 2022 than last year. While the prognosis sounds grim, WBUR’s Barbara Moran reports that researchers with New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life see reason for hope in the fact that the decrease in numbers has been slowing.
— Cooling urban heat islands one parking lot at a time
From speeding asphalt’s transition from black to gray to painting parking lots to reduce reflectivity, WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports on how some communities in Massachusetts are experimenting with how to cool urban heat islands. Of course, planting trees and grass in cities like Chelsea where pavement covers most of the community is one technique. But as pavement still absorbs heat and gives it back to the detriment of public health, some municipalities are experimenting with ways to cool the roads and parking lots themselves.
— Brady on texting terms with Ron DeSantis
Tom Brady’s decision to leave New England for Tampa Bay left a sour taste in the mouths of some fans. But if those former cheerleaders were inclined to start feeling a little bad for Brady on account of his football and marital struggles of late, this story in the Times about being on texting terms with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have them reconsidering. DeSantis isn’t exactly Mr. Popular in Massachusetts these days after flying a planeload of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard just to score some political points with the hard-right. Many Patriot fans had a hard enough time with Brady keeping a MAGA hat in his locker. But I don’t remember hearing about Brady texting with actual Mr. Popular – Gov. Charlie Baker – when he was still playing at Gillette.
— Swift rises from a local pine box
I’m going to pretend I haven’t seen all the memes of politicians awkwardly trying to cash in on the cultural cache of Taylor Swift’s new album “Midnights,” and that includes some from Massachusetts. But for a truly local angle, Boston.com’s Clara McCourt reports that Swift was filmed climbing out of a casket made by Andover’s very own titan Casket in a new music video for her single “Anti-Hero.” “She’s one of the top ten famous people on the planet climbing out of our casket, so nothing comes close to this scale,” co-founder Josh Siegel said.
— Step-therapy restrictions clear Legislature
It’s taken a long time, but the Legislature had a breakthrough yesterday as it finalized a compromise over so-called step therapy after years of wrestling with the topic. The bill sent to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk – the first substantial piece of legislation passed since lawmakers recessed to informal sessions in August – would restrict the ability of insurance companies to require patients try cheaper and often older drugs before they will pay for newer and costlier therapies that have been recommended by doctors as a more effective course of treatments. State House News Service’s Sam Drysdale reports.
— Challenger presses LeBoeuf on arrest in 17th Worcester debate
Worcester firefighter Paul Fullen, the Republican candidate for the 17th Worcester District House seat, called on incumbent David LeBoeuf to resign in the wake of his April arrest on drunk driving charges. LeBoeuf sought treatment after his arrest and says he has been sober since the incident. MassLive’s Kiernan Dunlop reports Fullen’s call for LeBoeuf to step away from the seat immediately set the tone in a testy back-and-forth.
— Cambridge finalizes plans to wipe away parking minimums
The Cambridge City Council has given its final blessing to a plan to make the city the first in the state to completely eliminate minimum parking requirements for new development. Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy reports that details of the new rule still need to be worked out, but advocates are hopeful the move will create more opportunities to build affordable housing and preserve open space.
— Absentee rate eyed as New Bedford digests abysmal MCAS scores
As communities dig deeper into the alarming drop in MCAS test scores, attention in New Bedford is turning to the high rates of chronic absenteeism in the city’s high schools where nearly 70 percent of students missed at least 10 percent of all school days. Colin Hogan of New Bedford Light has all the details.
— Weymouth group pushes to stop new development for 18 months
A group of Weymouth residents wants the community to halt major new development for 18 months to buy time for the community to find a long-term solution to its drinking water needs. Mayor Robert Hedlund says such a move would be a financial disaster. The Patriot Ledger’s Jessica Trufant reports the citizen’s petition for a new ordinance is now under study.
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