10:00 | MBTA Board of Directors meets virtually. The meeting will be the first for the full board since Gov. Healey took over atop the executive branch, which controls the T, and the first with Jeff Gonneville serving as interim general manager.....Agenda and Access Info
10:00 | Lawmakers, advocates and families relaunch a "School Meals for All" campaign for legislation (HD 766 / SD 1013) that supporters say would allow every Massachusetts student to receive free breakfast or lunch in school without providing income or other eligibility information | Room 428
11:00 | Equal Justice Coalition hosts annual "Talk to the Hill" virtual event to lobby for increased funding for Massachusetts civil legal aid programs in the fiscal 2024 budge. . Speakers at the online event include Gov. Healey, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Kimberly Budd, bar association leaders, and legal aid clients. | Registration
12:00 | Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association kicks off its two-day annual meeting, where attendees will tackle topics such as the changing and challenging workforce landscape in the health care industry. | More Info
2:00 | Lift Our Kids Coalition hosts a launch event for Rep. Decker and Sen. DiDomenico bills (HD 507 and SD 502) focused on "lifting kids out of deep poverty." | Room 428
Michelle Wu wrapped up at 7:58 pm last night, and Maura Healey is next up at 9:00 a.m today at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts breakfast. this morning.
Paired, the set of speeches gives us an early snapshot of where their agendas align, and where they diverge. And they will give at least a surface sample of the dynamics around the most impactful professional relationship in Boston (True? Discuss.)
In her first State of the City speech last night, Wu reiterated the policy points she was careful to advance before the speech: diversity, zero emissions, and yes, rent control. A Boston seat on the MBTA board. The end of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “Resiliency, affordability, equity.”
Some of these themes, on housing and climate especially, fit broadly with Healey’s direction, but by now it’s clear that when Healey talks about “access to housing,” she doesn’t mean “rent control,” for example and there will be other pain points. And it’s more than policy. In part, the chemistry between the two leaders, who are also rivals, will determine how powerfully they’re allied in lobbying legislative leaders interested in showing who’s really in charge around here.
We already know the specifics of Healey’s first-year agenda, because her inaugural address quite impressively weaved high-level themes with personal notes with very direct goal setting (1,000 new T employees, etc.).
But this morning’s audience at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts executive forum is markedly different from the left-leaning Legislature and general public at which Healey’s inaugural address was aimed. These are business people coming off eight years of a moderate Republican who was CEO of one of the largest corporations in Massachusetts before he was governor. They are nettled by the Millionaire’s Tax. The second headline on the AIM webpage carousel reads, “10 Business Strategies to Prepare for A Recession.” They handed over $100 a seat for their tickets, or their companies did anyhow.
To be sure, they’ve worked with Healey for eight years as well; she was not an anti-business crusader as AG. Neither was she governor, however, and taking the state to zero emissions is going to be painful and expensive. And who’s going to pay to make the Commonwealth more affordable?
Watch for Healey to keep hewing a line to the right of Wu, setting up policy, political, perhaps personal tensions – which ultimately could be all to the good if they generate constructive compromises. And quite beguiling for those of us thinking about the next U.S. Senate race, far too soon.
Coverage of Wu’s speech is copious this morning, with more analysis to come.. Healey’s won’t get quite the same attention, but it’ll still be keenly consumed and decently covered. As it should be; watch this space.
Mothers Out Front cheer Healey, who cheers back
This would never, but never, have happened under Gov. Baker. It’s not how he did things. But we’re learning this is how Gov. Healey does. She emerged from the Corner Office yesterday to greet the climate activist group Mothers Out Front, who went wild, and told them, “Our job is to make sure that we’re doing things day in and day out to make life better for you all, for your families. And one of the areas that I am really committed to as governor is maker sure that we have the climate that you deserve to grow up in.” Sam Doran of the State House News Service recounts the scene, and the Worcester Telegram has a video.
Adding new meaning to the term ‘one-time tax break’
A day after the well-attended State House hearing to estimate state revenues and talk about all things fiscal, Alison Kunitz of MassLive does a good job of returning to a story we surely have not heard the end of: lawmakers’ inclination to tinker with Chapter 62F, the obscure tax-rebate provision with $3 billion worth of repercussions, this year anyway. Kunitz picked up on the gusto with which the House and Senate ways and means chairman spoke of possible changes to that law, which upended last year’s tax-cut and budgeting plan and left questions about its equity and extent.
We’re fixing the garage. Also the stuff we told you was fixed.
It was pure MBTA: the T tweeted word yesterday it was closing a section of the Orange Line “for work on the Government Center Garage.” Okay. But when Globe transportation reporter Taylor Dolven asked why sections away from the garage were also closing, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo acknowledged that the authority will also try to address slowdown problems it earlier said were fixed during the summer’s complete shutdown of the line. Dolven’s colleague Victoria McGrane amused herself, and us, on twitter yesterday laying out the dodgy progression of public information out of everyone’s favorite independent authority.
Howie does Howie, In re the life and times of Tom Birmingham
It was probably inevitable that Howie would take up the story of Tom Birmingham, the former Senate president who passed away earlier this week. It’s an EXTREMELY Howie take: not very nice at all, not entirely fair, utterly accurate, and totally riveting.
Baker’s policy director now will push for policy at MHTC
Elizabeth Mahoney, who served for all years of the Baker administration, as deputy chief of staff and policy director, is moving to the Mass. High Tech Council to tend its policy interests on Beacon Hill. The MHTC, an outspoken agenda setter that inclines to the to right, named Mahoney its new vice president of policy and government affairs Wednesday.
Boston Business Journal | MHTC Release
Walsh garners healthy praise
As one veteran of the inner circle moved on, a new arrival won positive reviews from colleagues and health policy activists. Mark Nunnelly, head of the Boston Medical Center board of trustees, was among those praising Kate Walsh as she departed BMC to head up the state’s largest executive office. “Her appointment as Health and Human Services Secretary is an extraordinary recognition of her skills as a successful leader and her voice on matters of racial health equity nationally,” Nunnelly said in a statement issued Wednesday. WBUR surveyed the kind words. Walsh headed BMC for 13 years and was a familiar face in gatherings of health-care policymakers and at hearings on health costs and so on.
Brick thrower? One state senator not a fan of Lego HQ move
State Sen. Jake Oliveira says all the glee over news that Lego will move its U.S. headquarters from Connecticut to Boston ignores the impact the company’s move will have on Western Mass. “A loss for Connecticut is a loss for Western Mass,” Oliveira tells MassLive’s Alison Kuznitz, saying he is concerned about local workers who may not want to uproot their lives and make the move to the big city.
Latinos in poll back free T, name priorities
Grant Welker of the Boston Business Journal writes up a new MassINC poll said to the largest ever conducted of the public-policy attitudes of Massachusetts Latinos. The survey found the community well-aligned with the priorities Michelle Wu is pressing this year: in support of free transit service on the T, in favor of rent control, and backing greater government assistance with childcare costs. Globe columnist Marcela Garcia takes the data and provides the broader context.
Boston Business Journal | Boston Globe
Lawrence police chief placed on leave amid investigation
Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque has been placed on administrative leave and is the focus of an outside investigation, the city’s mayor announced Wednesday. City officials are mum about the reasons for the move, which the Eagle-Tribune’s Jill Harmaciniski reports comes two months after one local police union took a vote of no-confidence in the chief’s leadership.
Matter of time: Uncertain future for Nahant residents in Coast Guard housing
The Lynn Item’s Emily Pauls has an update on the fate of residents still living in what was once Coast Guard housing in Nahant, who have been under an eviction order since last October. The town wants the houses vacant so it can sell them to pay off a 20-year note it took to buy the land from the Coast Guard but some residents say they are having trouble lining up a suitable place to land in a brutal housing market.
Framingham raises affordable ante for new housing projects
The Framingham City Council has approved new requirements for developers of multi-family housing that increases the amount of affordable housing that must be included from 10 percent to 13 percent. Jesse Collings of the MetroWest Daily News reports the move is meant to help keep the city above the 10 percent affordable housing level, which shields it from unwanted 40B housing projects.
Measuring the deficiency: Dashboard provides insight into primary care
The state’s Center for Health Information yesterday launched a dashboard to quantify some of the most important measures of whether people are getting good primary care. The new tool looks at spending on primary care, among the most efficient way to spend a health care dollar; performance, meaning access and outcomes; capacity of the system overall; and equity. Doctors are leaving the practice of primary care and people of color continue to receive less preventive attention than white people, the dashboard shows. Chris Liskinsky of the News Service reports.
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.