Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues speaks alongside Senate President Karen Spilka at a press briefing in 2019. Credit: [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Happening Today:

9 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey speaks aboard the U.S.S. Constitution. | 93 Chelsea St, Charlestown

10 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu grabs a fork and shares remarks at the Asian Community Development Corporation's Dim Sum Breakfast. | Empire Garden Restaurant, 690 Washington Street, Chinatown

11 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joins U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, State Senator Nick Collins, and South Boston Community Health Center CEO Bill Halpin for an announcement on federal funding. | South Boston Community Health Center, 409 W Broadway, South Boston

1:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey takes the mic at the Massachusetts High Tech Council annual meeting. | Lighthouse Room, Seaport Hotel Boston, 1 Seaport Ln, Boston

To the delight of progressives, state Senators decided to split the difference when it comes to two controversial tax cut proposals in their long-awaited relief package — estate and short-term capital gains.

The $590 million Senate tax plan — like the House’s — would exempt estates valued under $2 million from the estate tax and seeks to eliminate the “tax cliff,” when any estate above the threshold triggers taxes on the entire value rather than just the overage.

A similar plan to bump up the threshold for triggering the estate tax was included in Gov. Maura Healey’s relief plan and in the version passed by the House. It all but guarantees a change to Massachusetts’ estate tax, which is seen as one of the steepest inheritance taxes in the nation.

Senators said “no” to slashing the state’s 12 percent tax rate on short-term capital gains — profits earned by selling an asset held for less than a year — to 5 percent, as the House and Healey plans did.

The business community has championed the cut as a way to improve the state’s competitiveness. But progressives have railed against lowering taxes on the sale of assets like stocks and real estate saying it would merely give a “windfall to the wealthy.” 

Marie-Frances Rivera, who heads the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center, told MASSterList that the omission of capital tax cuts is “a win” for progressives. The state’s highest-earning 1 percent of households would have received an estimated 77 percent of short-term capital gains cuts proposed earlier this year by Governor Healey and the House. 

Jonathan Cohn, policy director of Progressive Massachusetts, praised the Senate for “rejecting the flawed trickle-down economics that believes that tax cuts for the super-rich and large corporations, rather than investments in our state’s commonwealth, are what make our state ‘competitive.’”

The move delivers on Senate President Karen Spilka’s promise to deliver “progressive tax relief.” And it’s no surprise the chamber with a reputation for swinging further to the left, took a pass on slashing capital gains taxes and included an abridged version of the estate sale cuts.

The Senate’s take on revising the estate tax will target breaks to estates on the lower end of the wealth spectrum, which Rivera said widens the racial wealth gap. But MassBudget has pointed out that targeted relief like the Senate plans is a better solution than the $3 million exemption proposed initially by Healey.

Conservatives said a cut to capital gains could have helped to stem record levels of out-migration seen since the pandemic. Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance called the omission “a poke in the eye” to those working to keep the state “economically competitive.” 

“We’ve taken our economic competitiveness for granted and we’ve already begun to feel the negative consequences of that,” he said.

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Likely tax cuts come into focus with Senate delivery of $590 relief plan

Bay staters have a clearer picture of what type of relief might lawmakers are likely to serve up — and what’s likely off the table — after the state Senate released a $590 million tax cut package on Thursday. The Senate plan is about half the cost of the House’s, which was released before a shocking slump in April revenues that has given lawmakers pause. Their plan — like the House plan — would increase child and dependent tax credits, rent deductions, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the senior circuit breaker tax credit cap. It will also address the annual cap for the Housing Development Incentive Program and the annual authorization of the low-income housing tax credit. 

State House News Service | The Boston Herald

Did they know? Lawsuit claims DCF knew of Boston police union head’s abuse but didn’t protect kids

A lawsuit filed Thursday by two of the sexual assault survivors of a former Boston cop and patrolman union head claims that the state’s child welfare agency investigated him for sexual abuse in the early 1990s but took no steps to prevent him from having any contact with children, reports John Hilliard for The Boston Globe. DCF investigated Patrick M. Rose Sr. again in 1995, finding “evidence supported” allegations he abused a boy. Rose was charged with molesting six children in 2020.

The Boston Globe

MassHealth is reevaluating eligibility of 2.4 million members

MassHealth is in the midst of a massive redetermination effort to gauge eligibility for 2.4 million MassHealth members this summer, writes Alison Kuznitz for WBUR. The volume of residents enrolling in MassHealth coverage without needing direct member contact from state officials or from vendors is falling short of expectations so far, officials said.

State House News Service | NEPM

No fare: Blue Line, other options rolled out ahead of Sumner Tunnel closure

The T is offering up some alternative travel options and incentives while the Sumner Tunnel closes from July 5 to Aug. 31. The Blue Line will be free in both directions and MBTA parking lots and garages along it being reduced to $2 a day. The East Boston ferry is also free. Discounted tolls will be provided for the Tobin Bridge and Ted Williams Tunnel for “those registered in the Resident Discount Program,” the T said.

The Boston Herald

MIT whistleblower wants judge to recuse himself in wrongful termination suit

A whistleblower who used to work at MIT Media Lab and is now suing the university for wrongful termination wants the judge in the case to recuse himself because he formerly worked with one of MIT’s attorneys on the case for more than a decade, reports Don Seiffert for the Boston Business Journal. A lawyer representing Babak Babakinejad made a motion for judicial recusal for Christopher K. Barry-Smith, a superior court justice in Middlesex County. The suit alleges that MIT in 2021 ended  Babakinejad’s research appointment on the OpenAg project in 2017 to 2018 “for complaining about and reporting research fraud and fraudulent fundraising activities.”

Boston Business Journal

Delayed justice: States moving to remove all time limits on child sex abuse lawsuits

Lawsuits are an avenue to justice for victims of abuse that happened long ago and can’t be pursued in criminal courts either because of time limits or evidence diminishing over time, reports David Sharp for The Washington Post. Vermont was the first state to remove the limits in 2019, followed by Maine in 2021 and Maryland this year. Michigan, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are poised to take action before their legislative sessions end this summer.

The Washington Post

More turbine blades arrive in New Bedford, more on the way

The first six turbine blades for Vineyard Wind were shipped to the construction site from New Bedford on Thursday, where they spent two days in port, reports CAI. Vineyard Wind has announced that the installation of foundations for the 62 offshore wind turbines has begun about 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard.


Fall River launches work program targeting homelessness 

Fall River has partnered with a local nonprofit to provide jobs keeping the city clean to people without permanent homes, an idea that Mayor Paul Coogan says grew out of discussions with people forced to move after he ordered the clean up of homeless encampments. Jo C. Goode of the Herald-News has the details. 

Fall River Herald News

Amherst reaches deal with teachers after nearly two years 

One of the state’s longest-running educator labor dramas may be nearing conclusion, with Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reporting the Amherst regional school district has reached an agreement that ends more than 18 months of talks that hung up mainly on pay rates for paraeducators. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

In Quincy, Koch’s latest challenger hopes third time’s the charm

Quincy City Councilor Anne Mahoney says she will challenge incumbent Mayor Thomas Koch in his bid for a seventh straight term this fall. Mahoney, who fell short in earlier bids to unseat Koch in 2011 and 2015, is the second challenger to take on Koch, who is already the city’s longest-serving mayor.

The Patriot Ledger

They’re out: Umpires boycott Taunton games after threats from parents 

After a parking-lot confrontation that allegedly included threats, umpires say they won’t work games connected with Taunton Western Little League games. The Gazette’s Steven Sanchez reports Mayor Shaunna O’Connell has called a meeting to address the situation.

Taunton Gazette

Weekend political and policy talk shows

Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews James Pindell of The Boston Globe for a New Hampshire primary update where they’ll be discussing the anti-Trump rhetoric of Chris Christie & Mike Pence, Chris Sununu’s role in the campaign and the mood of GOP voters

On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Steve Kerrigan is the guest this weekend for one of the first in-depth interviews with the GM since his appointment in April by Gov. Maura Healey. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray join the roundtable discussion.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList