10 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey hosts Cape Verde President José Maria Neves along with Lt. Gov. Driscoll . | Governor's Ceremonial Office
10 a.m. | Boston City Council's Committee on City Services and Innovation Technology holds hearing on fire and emergency disaster relief services in Boston. | Iannella Chamber, Fifth Floor, City Hall
11 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey tours renewable electricity company Advent Technologies for its grand opening. | Advent Technologies Holdings Inc., 500 Rutherford Ave., Suite 102, Charlestown
Noon | 1Grand opening ceremony for State Lottery's regional office, which opened to the public in early February. | 135 Gold Star Blvd., Worcester
1 p.m. | More than 35 environmental, health, business leaders and elected officials issue press release and a letter to Gov. Healey urging her to commit to installing 10 gigawatts of solar -- the equivalent of 1 million solar roofs -- by 2030. The letter will call for "eliminating unnecessary roadblocks to solar development, ensuring fair compensation for solar generation, and expanding access to solar energy for all Massachusetts residents" as well as "incentivizing solar installations on built land, such as parking lots, brownfields, and rooftops."
Its budget season on Beacon Hill and the House is up.
The 160-member chamber traditionally releases the financial plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 in April.
When that happens this month, it will be the Democrat-led Legislature’s first stab at its first spending cycle with newly elected Gov. Maura Healey — the first Democrat to grace the corner office in eight years.
It’s likely to put some power flexing on display as Healey and House Speaker Ron Mariano smooth out their dynamic.
Tax reform will be their first dance.
Mariano said he was “encouraged” by the governor’s “strong commitment to the shared sense of collaboration that fueled much of the progress last session.”
Yet on the heels of Healey’s big $55.5 billion budget and tax relief reveal, the House speaker last week during a speech before the Boston Chamber of Commerce revealed that he would pitch a tax package of his own to be released “just before” its annual budget.
It’s somewhat of a an about face following his comments earlier this session questioning whether the economy could support tax cuts. But the state continues to deliver strong revenue numbers. And Mariano’s Chamber speech was a notable pivot from the “you kids get off my lawn” vibe he was noticeably projecting toward Healey and Speaker President Spilka’s gusto for tax relief.
Year-to-date tax collections totaled approximately $23.6 billion at the end of February, nearly $1 billion above benchmark, according to the Department of Revenue. March numbers are out later this week…
The House tax bill is likely to come in the coming days, State House News Service reported. It begins its journey with the Revenue Committee and then House Ways and Means on its way to the House floor.
House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz told MASSterList both the budget and tax relief package are “still being worked on.”
Mariano wouldn’t reveal too many specifics for his plan for a “comprehensive tax reform package” but indicated several policies would mirror those proposed in Healey’s $1 billion relief plan.
One such commitment was to free community college for Bay Staters over 25 with no college degrees. Healey targeted a $20 million-per-year expense, but Mariano said he thinks it’s “more,” while avoiding specific numbers.
Healey’s budget provided a roadmap for a revamp in state spending as billions in federal pandemic-aid dollars dry up and the state puts to work the $1 billion (at least) in new annual revenue from the just-levied millionaire tax.
Mariano has already verbally committed to some of Healey’s proposals. She would fully fund an extension of School Meals for All into the 2023-2024 school year — which comes with a $171 million price tag.
The Legislature last year demonstrated its commitment to making food accessible for students, funding the program after federal COVID-grants rant out. With the governor’s support, Mariano said there’s now a clear path to making the program “permanent.”
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MBTA watch 🚇
Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 10
Days with localized speed restrictions: 24
Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 285
On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 88 days without the position being filled.
Off track: Worker shortage at the MBTA could mean trains moving slowly for years
The MBTA could face reduced speeds, slow fixes for aging infrastructure and more if it cannot hire the number of employees it needs to put itself back on track, a new report released Monday finds. It is a crucial moment for the state’s public transit agency as a new general manager is scheduled to take over next week amid major system slowdowns across the subway system, writes MassLive’s Chris Van Buskirk.
Legislature has been audited at least 7 times, says DiZoglio
State Auditor Diana DiZoglio isn’t backing down from her quest to delve into the details of the Legislature’s finances. In a weekend appearance on WCVB’s “On the Record,” the former state senator said there is precedent for such an investigation, pointing to “at least” seven other examples of legislative audits.
Is John Kerry using private email as climate chief?
It’s unclear if John Kerry is the next politician using a private email account for official government business, writes Joe Dwinell of The Boston Herald. Newly obtained emails raise questions about whether the Climate Office emails released through a records request show staffers scrambling to downplay titles and a memo cc’d to a Gmail account that appears to be for Kerry.
Minority cops reach $40M lawsuit with Boston over civil service test
The Boston Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter writes that the state attorney general has reached a $40 million settlement with hhundreds of minority police officers. The state has ruled the civil-service promotional exam discriminated against potential officers of color.
First Lady in Maine, Vermont on Wednesday
Jill Biden is taking a one-day tour through parts of New England. The First Lady will visit a community college in Maine and an aerospace technology company in Vermont, writes Nick Stoico for The Boston Globe. The visits are part of the administration’s “Investing in America Tour” and will follow stops in Colorado and Michigan on Monday, Biden’s office said in a statement.
‘Ladies, ladies’: Easthampton school committee rescinds superintendent job offer following ‘micro-aggression’
The West Springfield interim Superintendent Vito Perrone, is no longer wanted as Easthampton’s next superintendent after School Committee members rescinded the job offer following an email he addressed to “Ladies.” They called the term a microaggression.” Perrone wants the committee members to reconsider, writes MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge.
Endangered right whales are back in Cape Cod Bay
An endangered right whale calf was captured on video feeding as it swims alongside its mother in Cape Cod Bay, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, New England Aquarium and Whale & Dolphin Conservation. The March 27 footage shows a 41-year-old right whale Spindle swimming with her calf. As the two whales swim beside each other, the calf moves below its mother to suckle, or feed from her.
Women hold just 8% of leadership positions in the state
There’s a severe gender gap when it comes to who is filling corporate leadership roles in Massachusetts, an Eos Foundation report on gender disparities in those jobs found. The Massachusetts philanthropic foundation said the “good news” is that the number of women serving in the roles has doubled since 2019, according to “The Women’s Power Gap” study, Yasmin Amer reported for WBUR.
Pilgrim Nuclear owner agrees to wastewater study, but says it won’t pay for it
Holtec International says it will cooperate with an independent environmental study of its plan to discharge more than a million gallons of radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay but won’t commit to paying for it. Barbara Moran of WBUR reports Holtec is resisting plans to use the ratepayer-funded decommissioning fund for the plan to pay for the review.
Pols pressure UMass Amherst to abandon plan to privatize
Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and state lawmakers are among those pressuring UMass Amherst to drop a plan to move as many as 100 jobs in its fundraising operation to an independent non-profit, a move labor leaders have called an effort to break up an employees’ union. MassLive’s Luis Feldman reports state and federal lawmakers alike have also questioned the need for the move and the negative impact it could have on the pensions and benefits of workers.
Welcome back: After half-century, open town meeting returns in Lee
After 54 years of sending only elected representatives to make their decisions, all voters in Lee will once again be welcome to take part in open town meeting for the first time since 1968. The Berkshire Eagle’s Scott Stafford reports some in town remain skeptical about the move, which voters supported by a healthy margin at last year’s election.
State Republican party says most of its debt traces back to Diehl’s campaign
New MassGOP Chair Amy Carnevale says the majority of the $600,000 worth of unpaid bills she inherited trace back to the losing gubernatorial campaign of Geoff Diehl–and should not be paid by the party at all, Gayla Cawley of the Herald reports. Carnevale says the party believes as much as $400,000 of the debt might trace back to Diehls’ run.
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