8 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission resumes its review of the mobile sports betting license application from Fanatics, which would be tethered to the operation at Plainridge Park Casino.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission continues its review of the six applications it received for mobile sports betting licenses that will not be tied to an existing casino or slots parlor.
10:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey attends a winter and emergency preparedness briefing at the Framingham bunker with Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy, Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Beckman and Acting Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler.
12 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey visits the Framingham Department of Public Works with other state and local officials, including Senate President Karen Spilka.
5:30 p.m. | MassINC Polling Group and The Education Trust in Massachusetts hold a webinar to release results of a poll of more than 1,200 parents who have children in elementary or secondary school in Massachusetts.
6 p.m. | Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll administers the oath of office at Lynn Classical High School for Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger as he begins his second term.
Children are expensive. Any parent will tell you that. But when raising children interferes with the ability to also work, the result can be damaging not just to families, but the state’s economy as well.
A new report out today from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundations estimates that inadequate access to affordable child care in Massachusetts costs workers in Massachusetts $2.7 billion in earnings a year. Employers lose another $812 million.
Child care is one of the issues that will be debated this year on Beacon Hill with new Gov. Maura Healey prioritizing the area as one where the state can help lower the cost of living in Massachusetts. It’s also seen as a space where some of the billions of dollars in remaining federal stimulus and tax surplus could be put to use.
Healey has proposed a $400 million plan to expand child care tax credits for families, making an estimated 700,000 families eligible for up to $600 per child. Lawmakers have also taken steps to put more money into wages for child care providers. But the MTF report suggests it’s going to take more than just money to stabilize what researchers described as a “complicated and inefficient” child care subsidy system.
“While further investment in child care is likely to be a part of those discussions, so should identifying and prioritizing the subsidy system’s current gaps and deficiencies. The future success of the child care system depends on making the most efficient use of the resources available,” the authors wrote.
The federal government recommends that reimbursement rates be set at a level to give income-eligible families access to at least 75 percent of seats in the private market in their region, but MTF reports that current rates in Massachusetts generally give parents affordable access to only 50 percent of available seats.
Despite a record $1.3 billion investment in fiscal year 2023, MTF says only 49,000 children a month in the subsidy system were served in 2022 and 16,000 children are on waiting lists for subsidies. Furthermore, the money that is available is not being maximized, with millions going unspent annually over the last decade and the money that is reimbursed to providers falling short of what is needed to truly cover the cost of care.
“We acknowledge the subsidy system is just one piece of the puzzle,” said Ashley White, senior policy researcher at MTF. “But reforming financial assistance programs to make affordable child care more accessible is a critical step.”
MTF said it anticipates that any effort to expand access to affordable child care at the State House will start with the subsidy system.
The report includes a number of policy recommendations, including changes to the way reimbursement rates are calculated and how subsidized child care seats are allocated by region, as well as streamlining the process for parents to access support and ensuring that budget decisions are made in a way to utilize all available resources.
The Boston Foundation plans to host an online forum on Jan. 18 to discuss the research and its recommendations.
— Turmoil within MassGOP includes raft of unpaid bills
With a looming election for party chairman hanging over the MassGOP, the Globe’s Emma Platoff delves into the latest revelations and accusations that MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyons racked up tens of thousands of dollars of debt during the latest election cycle leaving the party with unpaid bills and threats of lawsuits to recoup the money. Some of the outstanding bills, according to Platoff, were for opposition research into Gov. Maura Healey’s personal life. Lyons and the party did not comment for the story, but it’s the continuation of a trend that has sparked challenges to Lyons’s leadership after his break from former Gov. Charlie Baker and the moderate wing of the party, which led to a string of losses that has left Republicans in Massachusetts with an uncertain future.
— Healey centers climate agenda in first official visit as governor
Making her first official appearance outside the State House as governor, Maura Healey travelled to UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday to learn more about what the university is doing to prepare for and fight climate change, and prepare its students for careers in a new green economy. MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz documents the visit after Healey spoke frequently during her campaign about the possibility of creating a “climate corridor” that would create jobs in clean energy from the coast to the Berkshires.
— What gives the House the right?
Ahead of a hearing on Friday when a special House panel will consider arguments on how to proceed with the contested outcomes of two close House races this fall, State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski looks at the legal precedent for the House to refuse to seat two candidates – both Democrats – who had been declared the winners of their races despite narrow margins over their opponents.
Despite the legal justification, the Globe’s Matt Stout reports on how the decision by House leaders has rankled some in the party who have spent years criticizing Republicans for refusing to accept election results.
— Sorry, we can’t help you: BPD tells ICE to chill
The Boston Police Department reports that it rejected a dozen requests for help from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in compliance with the city’s Trust Act that was meant to strengthen relationships with the city’s immigrant communities by refusing to engage in the enforcement of federal immigration law. The Globe’s Danny McDonald looks at the latest report from BPD and how it stacks up with past concerns about cooperation between city and federal authorities.
— Tourist spots are booming again, some more than others
Lodging taxes are soaring in many tourist sports across Massachusetts, according to CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl, but the trend has not been observed equitably. Most cities and towns that tend to attract travelers have seen the revenues rebound from pandemic lows as people have started travelling and vacationing again. Lenox Town Manager Christopher Ketchen calls this “revenge travel.” But Mohl writes that the recovery has been slower in major urban areas like Boston, Cambridge and Worcester. One reason for this could be a decline in business travel.
— Peabody land buy would block hundreds of housing units
Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt says the city plans to buy 80 acres of land that had been eyed for a sprawling housing development and will preserve most of it as open space, Caroline Enos of The Salem News reports. Bettencourt said allowing the development to proceed would further tax local schools and infrastructure, but it also comes at a time when state and local leaders, as well as advocates, across the state are pushing for more housing production.
— New Airbnb fees raise hackles in Great Barrington
Some property owners in Great Barrington are crying foul after the town said it would charge $200 for each short-term rental registered, money the community says it needs to cover the costs of administering a new oversight program. The Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow reports some Airbnb hosts say the additional fee could be a back-breaker when combined with existing state and local taxes, as well as a 3 percent community impact fee.
— Police reform two years later
Two years after the Legislature’s passage of a landmark police reform law, MassLive’s Chris Van Buskirk takes stock of the law’s implementation and whether some of the fears among police that they would be scapegoated have come to pass.
— Group says Lowell scores an ‘F’ on its LGBTQ scorecard
The city of Lowell ranks worst in the state for its local policies and laws relating to LGBTQ issues, according to Human Rights Watch, which gave the city an F on its 2022 Municipal Equality scorecard. Melanie Gilbert of The Sun has the details.
— Nantucket property sales suggest pandemic-fueled surge abating
The Nantucket real estate market appears to have cooled off slightly in 2022 — but only when compared to the two record-setting years during the peak of the pandemic, Jason Graziadei and David Creed of the Nantucket Current report. Total sales for 2022 were $1.6 billion, down from $2.3 billion last year, but the island still managed to set a new record with the average sale price breaking the $4 million mark for the first time.
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