Happening Today:

10 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders attend a ribbon cutting for a Community Behavioral Health Center in East Boston.

10 a.m. | MBTA Board of Directors meets.

10:30 a.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey attends the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Annual Installation, which will include the swearing-in of the new president of MCOPA.

1 p.m. | Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association holds its annual meeting virtually.

1:30 p.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito presides over the final meeting of the Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

It’s the end of an era.

Citizens for Limited Taxation announced early this morning that it would officially shut down at the end of the year, leaving behind a legacy that includes the 1986 law responsible for that tax refund check you got in the mail this fall.

CLT, which is currently run by Chip Ford, says it will be passing the torch to the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. The two organizations have a press conference planned for later this morning.

If we’re being honest, CLT’s influence on Beacon Hill has been waning for years as Mass Fiscal’s has increased. Since the death of its founder and Marblehead activist Barbara Anderson in 2016, Ford told the Eagle Tribune’s Christian Wade that it’s been a struggle to keep CLT going amid dwindling membership and sluggish fundraising.

Ford, himself, actually lives in Kentucky now.

But CLT’s legacy will endure. Even if you’ve never heard of Citizens for Limited Taxation, you are probably familiar with Proposition 2 1/2 – a ballot law passed by Anderson to limit annual property tax increases at the municipal level. If you’ve ever voted for an “override” to build a new school or fire station, this is why.

“It’s a new era, time for new energy to move the tax limitation movement forward in Massachusetts,” said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “For going on half a century CLT has carried the burden of leadership in that indispensable mission. The time has come to pass the tax limitation torch on to another generation.”

Perhaps ironically, CLT will shut its doors (figuratively) roughly 48 years after it was founded to defeat a proposed Constitutional amendment in 1976 to create a graduated income tax. Voters this year approved a 4 percent surtax on high-income earners.

Four years later Anderson would successfully lead the campaign for Prop 2 1/2.

CLT suffered its fair share of defeats over the years as well. Before it successfully led the 2000 campaign to roll back the state’s income tax to 5 percent, it lost its push to rescind Gov. Michael Dukakis’s tax hikes in 1990.

More recently, CLT and Mass Fiscal worked together to oppose Gov. Charlie Baker’s failed attempt to work with other states on the creation of a regional gas emissions reduction compact known as TCI, and came up short in its effort to defeat the so-called “millionaires tax.”

— No one happy after Baker backs off pardon for Amiraults

Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to recommend pardons for Gerald Amirault and his sister Cheryl Amirault Lefave, both convicted in the mid-80s of molesting children at the family-owned Fells Acres daycare in Malden, turned out to be a lose-lose for everyone involved. Baker withdrew his pardon petition Wednesday as the Governor’s Council was set to vote on his recommendation, citing the apparent lack of votes on the council to get it approved. After an emotional hearing Tuesday at the State House that dragged up the trauma from nearly 40 years ago, Baker’s decision not to test the support of council left supporters of the Amiraults frustrated, councilors feeling short changed and families feeling like they went through this all again for nothing. “He should have sat down and thought about, if this were going to be done, how it would be done properly,” one child psychologist who attended Tuesday’s hearing in support of the Amiraults told the Globe.

The Boston Globe

— The Council did vote to commute the sentence of Ramadan Shabazz, making the 73-year-old eligible for parole after serving 50 years for murder. SHNS’s Sam Doran has more.

— Is JKIII Ireland bound?

The same website that correctly predicted Easton state lawmaker Claire Cronin would be tapped by President Joe Biden for ambassador to Ireland now says former Congressman Joe Kennedy III is the “clear favorite” to become the next U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland. IrishCentral’s Niall O’Dowd reports that Biden is expected to visit Northern Ireland in April  to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and that an appointment could come early in the new year. Kennedy did not respond to WPRI’s Ted Nesi when he sought comment on the report, but Nesi writes that U.S. Rep. William Keating has been pushing the Biden administration to fill the envoy post, which has been vacant since January 2021. Kennedy’s family, of course, has a long history with Ireland and Irish politics, playing key roles in the Northern Irish peace process.

IrishCentral | WPRI 12 News

— East Coast states band together to try to help fishing industry

Nine North Atlantic states, including Massachusetts, are making a push to set up a central fund that would compensate the fishing industry for losses caused by the development of offshore wind farms up and down the coast. The New Bedford Light’s Anastasia E. Lennon reports that while individual wind developers have entered state-by-state agreements to pay fisherman for costs incurred due to the loss of fishing grounds or longer trips requiring more fuel, the patchwork system has led to “inconsistencies” in ho those costs are calculated, according to the state. The Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management has said it doesn’t have the authority to administer such a fund, money for which would come from developers, but the states have issued a request for information and are seeking public comments through the end of January.

The New Bedford Light

— There’s a new firm in town

Shawmut Strategies Group, a new government affairs and communications firm, is joining the Beacon Hill ecosystem. The firm is a merger of other groups and prominent consultants. It’s four founding members include Chris Keohan, of CK Strategies, Joseph Giannino from the Government Relations Group, Dianne Morad of Neponset Strategies, and attorney Kevin Mulvey. Shawmut boasts that it already has the largest roster of labor clients of any PR firm in Boston, and a client list that also includes companies like Dunkin’, Capital One and Xerox. Shawmut has also brought on board Mass Retirees CEO Shawn Duhamel, designer Matthew Moses and Raymond Bennett, a long-time aide to former Congressman Michael Capuano.

— Where did all the workers go?

The Herald’s Gayla Cawley reports on a new study done by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation that attributes the state’s labor shortages to an aging population and residents leaving for other parts of the country as international immigration has slowed.

Boston Herald

— The build up to Inauguration Day

Inauguration day is getting closer. But before the bash at the TD Garden, MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz reports that the Healey-Driscoll team is eyeing a series of community service events around the state tied to the inaugural festivities. It’s not unlike how the last Democratic governor – Deval Patrick – approached his historic inauguration in 2006.


— Shoring up the state’s cyber defenses

As Gov. Charlie Baker looks to tie up loose ends and check the remaining boxes on his to-do list before leaving office next month, the Republican signed an executive order Wednesday to create a new cybersecurity response team to bolster the state’s defenses against online attacks. The Globe’s Travis Anderson has more detail.

The Boston Globe

— Berkshire crypto exec blew whistle on now-arrested FTX founder

Ryan Salame, the cryptocurrency executive well known in the Berkshires for investing his windfall earnings in several Lenox bars and restaurants, warned regulators in the Bahamas that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was misdirecting client funds. The Berkshire Eagle’s Larry Parnass and Clarence Fanto report Salame, who is a native of Sandisfield, contacted authorities not long before FTX filed for bankruptcy last month.

The Berkshire Eagle

— UMass took illegally trafficked monkeys for research, PETA says 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is alleging that the UMass Chan Medical School took custody of illegally trafficked monkeys in the latest escalation of the animal rights group’s longtime battle against primate research at the school, the Telegram’s Henry Schwan reports. UMass Chan says it follows all applicable laws, while PETA argues that the animals in question should be seized and sent to sanctuaries.

Telegram & Gazette

— Fall River drag story time targeted by Neo-Nazi protesters 

Organizers of a drag story time in Fall River say they won’t back down from staging future shows after last weekend’s event for children was disrupted by neo-Nazi protesters. Audrey Cooney of the Herald News reports Mayor Paul Coogan was among those who condemned the protest and that police are reviewing footage from the clash for possible charges.

The Herald News

— MGM CEO pledges Springfield visit amid hiring shortfall 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says the CEO of MGM Resorts International has pledged to visit the city soon to see progress on the MGM Springfield casino and to address regulators’ concerns that promised work remains uncompleted and that hiring targets set during the licensing process have yet to be met. Jim Kinney of MassLive has all the details. 




Boston City Council approves reparations task force – Boston Herald

Bomb threat at Tufts; several buildings evacuated – Universal Hub

Redistricting lawsuit is heading to federal court – Dorchester Reporter

Legislature OKs special liquor licenses for Roxbury, Dorchester sites – Boston Business Journal


After a record high, overdose deaths may be declining slightly in Massachusetts – WBUR

Eversource continues pitch for gas pipeline during public hearing despite unrelenting community pushback – MassLive

Attleboro’s mayoral special election set for Feb. 28 – The Sun Chronicle

Fall River School Committee approves payments to controversial Judge Rotenberg Center – The Herald News


Democrats dare to sound bullish on the economy – The Hill

Twitter Suspends Over 25 Accounts That Track Billionaires’ Private Planes – The New York Times

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.