7:30 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Driscoll delivers remarks at Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce's Annual Mayors & Town Managers Breakfast at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 123 Old River Rd, Andover
11 a.m. | Mayor Wu appears live on WBUR Radio Boston
12 p.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission holds a roundtable discussion about issues related to sports betting with representatives from various professional Players' Associations.
2 p.m. | Lawmakers, Healey administration officials and advocates gather to celebrate a land preservation law former Gov. Baker signed in November. The law, which supporters dubbed the Public Lands Preservation Act, codifies a "no net loss" policy that requires any lifting of Article 97 conservation restrictions on land to be followed by newly protecting land of equal environmental value. To be held at State Library, Room 341
It’s that time of year when a lot of smart people gather to predict the unpredictable: state tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. The consensus revenue hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (11 a.m. Room A-2), bringing together House and Senate budget chiefs Aaron Michlewitz and Michael Rodrigues, newly appointed Administration and Finance Secretary Matt Gorzkowicz and a host of other officials. Soon a magic number will have to be calculated before the new governor and her team can build a budget, with the House and Senate to follow.
Thus, send in the economists. The experts have gotten it wrong in a good way for several years running. A frothy economy generated billions in unanticipated revenue, ultimately setting the stage for last fall’s state tax rebate. Getting it right won’t be any easier this time, given the economic headwinds. Who knows what the economy will look like this fall and beyond?
One modest prediction: Expect the prognosticators to err on the side of caution. There’s no political gain in overestimating revenue expectations. And the number will support a careful approach to the extra billions still lingering in the state’s coffers.
Fun state finance fact: Revenues at the midway point of the fiscal year are running about $540 million ahead of last year.
Remembering former Senate President Tom Birmingham
Thoughtful, brilliant, and one of the architects of the pivotal 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, former Senate President Tom Birmingham died Friday at 73. “Everybody knows Tom Birmingham was brilliant,” Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios wrote in an email appreciation mourning his passing. “What I’d like people to understand is what a kind, decent, and courageous man he was.” The Boston Globe’s Bryan Marquard writes a fitting tribute that covers the impressive scope of Birmingham’s life.
Wind developers looking for a fresh breeze
Two leading offshore wind power developers, saying they face unexpected costs since signing power purchase agreements with the state, are in effect stalling — looking for a better reception on Beacon Hill with a new administration in renegotiating their agreements, Bruce Mohl writes in CommonWealth. The Department of Public Utilities approved Commonwealth Wind’s contract even though the project’s parent company — Avangrid — said it could no longer obtain financing for the project. In turn, late last week Commonwealth Wind appealed the decision.
Financial District’s comeback lags, unlike Seaport
It’s a tale of three downtowns within Boston, all with different trajectories coming out of the peak of the pandemic. Back Bay? Pretty good. The Seaport? Even better. But the Financial District? That’s a different story altogether. Foot traffic remains about one-third off pre-pandemic levels while restaurant spending is down 19 percent from 2019. The Boston Globe’s Janelle Nanos and Catherine Carlock explore the relative dynamics of the three business districts.
Clark’s daughter arrested during Boston Common police protest
Boston police say they arrested the daughter of U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark during a Saturday night protest on Boston Common where at least one officer was assaulted. The Globe’s Nick Stoico reports Riley Dowell, 23, faces charges of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, destruction or injury of personal property, and damage of property by graffiti/tagging after protesters defaced a bandstand on the common with anti-police slogans. Clark, who was recently elevated to House minority Whip, acknowledged the arrest in a tweet on Sunday.
In the running: Walsh floated as chief of staff replacement
It was fun while it lasted. For a fleeting moment, U.S. Labor Secretary and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was being floated as a potential candidate to become President Biden’s next chief of staff. Politico’s Eugene Daniels reported Walsh was likely in the running because of his close personal relationship with the president. But before such speculation could gain any real steam, reports emerged that Biden would instead tap Jeff Zients to succeed outgoing chief of staff Ron Klain.
Lynch says fed funding still possible for Cape bridges — at a lower price
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch told WBZ’s and MASSterList’s Jon Keller on Sunday that federal funding for new bridges over the Cape Cod Canal could still be in the offing, but likely at a price tag just half of current estimates. The Herald’s Matthew Medsger reports Lynch, a former iron worker, thinks $2 billion is a more reasonable price to replace the aging spans than the $4 billion figure attached to the state’s rejected application for funding.
Party platform: Springfield mayoral candidate pledges month-long celebration if elected
David F. Ciampi says he will challenge Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in the November election and that if he’s elected, he’ll create an annual month-long festival in the city modeled after Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. MassLive’s Jonah Snowden reports both Ciampi and City Councilor Justin Hurst plan to formally launch their campaigns this week.
Exotic dancers granted class action status in suit over unpaid wages
Current and former dancers at Hurricane Betty’s, a Southbridge strip club, were certified as a class in a lawsuit over unpaid wages. Hurricane Betty’s owners hired the dancers as regular hourly employees, Neal McNamara of the Worcester Patch reports, but the lawsuit claims the club didn’t pay the mandated minimum wage when including tips.
Crime of the weekend: Bank robber foiled (Red Line is involved)
Adam Gaffin’s Universal Hub, one of the best sources for quirky and granular news, reports on a bank robbery on Cambridge Street in Boston that quickly led police to the Park Street station.
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