Child care straps Massachusetts with high costs and few options


9 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey surveys flood damage in western Massachusetts starting in North Adams, then at 10:30 a.m. in Williamsburg | 298 State St and 847 Church St, North Adams, Williamsburg Fire Station, 5 N Main St, Williamsburg

Later | Gov. Maura Healey is slated to travel to attend the National Governors Association meetings on youth mental health. | Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City

8 a.m. | Day two of the Reuters Events US Offshore Wind 2023 conference features a panel on interstate collaboration and state procurements. | Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston

11:15 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu attends police 30x30 Initiative, a national pledge to increase the representation of women police recruits to 30 percent by 2030. | Boston Police Department headquarters, Media Room, 1 Schroeder Plaza, Roxbury

1 p.m. | A split Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy with just senators holds a hearing on nearly 30 bills tied to decarbonization. | Room A-2

1 p.m. | Regional Transit Authority Council meets to discuss workforce shortages and electrification. | MassDOT Board Road, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

Toddlers, their parents and the educators who serve them are taking to the State House tomorrow to press lawmakers to reform a child-care system that’s burdening families with high costs and few options.

Early childhood education proponents from the Common Start Coalition, who are behind the rally for an affordable, accessible system, are hoping they’ll have something big to celebrate, too. Both chambers have formal sessions planned for 11 a.m. on Thursday, but top Democrats have been mum so far on which bills they plan to advance. Both House and Senate versions include big investments in early childhood education and care — $850 million and $1.5 billion, respectively — but vary on exactly how much and how to fund it.

Also on the table are a pair of bills — filed by Sens. Jason Lewis and Susan Moran and Reps. Adrian Madaro and Kenneth Gordon — that would advance the coalition’s plan to subsidize child care and bump up educators’ salaries to shore up a workforce crisis. 

“The result for parents and families would be substantially lower costs — tens of thousands a year in savings for middle-income families,” coalition spokesman Andrew Farnitano told MASSterList. “The cost of child care working families are facing right now is astronomical.”

Child care is one of the largest expenses for Massachusetts families where it ranks the second-most-expensive nationwide. Infant care carries a $20,000-a-year price tag — if they can find it. Current subsidies are woefully underfunded, advocates say, pointing to a waitlist for financial aid that’s some 16,000 families long.

Thousands of workers left the industry amid the pandemic and child-care centers have struggled to staff up ever since, leaving families scrambling and putting a squeeze on the state economy. The state is losing $2.7 billion each year in lost wages, productivity and tax revenue due to inadequate access to child care.

Competitiveness is a major concern on Beacon Hill as lawmakers tackle unaffordable housing, health care and child care that’s squeezing Bay Staters and pushing some out. Massachusetts was one of only two states in the nation — alongside Indiana — to see personal incomes drop during the first quarter of 2023 — shrinking by almost 1 percent, according to June data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

Send tips to Erin Tiernan For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter. Did someone send you this edition? Subscribe here!

BMC turning away migrant families with nowhere to go

A new Boston Medical Center policy has barred migrant families from sheltering in its emergency department — sometimes sending them in Ubers to Logan Airport if a state-run welcome center or homeless shelter is closed, reports Samantha J. Gross and Elizabeth Koh for The Boston Globe. The state is struggling to provide resources to thousands of newly arrived migrants, many of whom arrive at the hospital seeking shelter because other options are full.

The Boston Globe

Put it on the tab: Cost of housing migrants in hotels, motels unclear

A Republican state lawmaker accused the Healey administration of giving a “woefully incomplete” response to a request for the costs associated with housing migrant families in 38 hotels and motels on an emergency basis, reports Chris Van Buskirk for The Boston Herald. And Healey pushed back through a spokeswoman, saying Spencer Rep. Peter Durant agreed to a “narrative” answer to a records request.

The Boston Herald

Uber, Lyft drivers take to the streets to push unionization 

Roughly 500 Uber and Lyft drivers rallied with labor groups and other advocates to press lawmakers to pass a bill that would let the drivers unionize and offer other worker protections, GBH reported. Bill supporters say that a union would help drivers negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions. It’s a push that’s gone on for more than two years on Beacon Hill.


Heavy rains, flooding damage Western Mass crops

Residents of Franklin County dealt with flooded basements, washed out driveways, roads that have basically turned into rivers and the loss of entire farms’ worth of crops following a deluge earlier this week, reports Colin A. Between Sunday morning and Tuesday morning, towns along the northern part of the Interstate 91 corridor received multiple inches of rainfall — 4.58 inches in Conway, 4.12 inches in Ashfield, 3.89 inches in Buckland, 3.68 inches in Colrain and 3.12 inches in Shelburne, according to the National Weather Service.

State House News Service

South Boston beach still closed to public despite $31 million renovation project

South Boston residents have nowhere to cool down halfway through summer as L Street Beach remains closed to the public despite a $31.2 million renovation on the facility — and its left Bostonians boiling, reports Lance Reynolds for The Boston Herald. It will be at least another week before residents get to cool down at the beach, with the city dragging its feet on approving a beach operation and management plan that the state has already signed off on.

The Boston Herald

Striking workers could get jobless benefits via bill

Workers on strike for more than 30 days could soon be eligible to receive unemployment benefits under legislation that union members say is necessary to ensure collective bargaining talks are fair and balanced, reports State House News Service’s Alison Kuznitz. Sen. Paul Feeney and Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa filed the bill.

State House News Service

WCVB president now leading all New England Hearst stations

Hearst Television has promoted WCVB’s president and general manager Kyle I. Grimes to vice president of the New England region, writes Jenny Hellwig for the Boston Business Journal. In the newly created position, Grimes will continue in all of his current duties at WCVB and additionally oversee stations in Portland-Auburn, Maine; Manchester, New Hampshire; Plattsburgh, New York; and Burlington, Vermont. WCVB Channel 5 is Hearst Television’s flagship station and Boston’s ABC affiliate. 

Boston Business Journal

Fall River’s Sutter wants to be mayor again 

Sam Sutter — who briefly served as mayor of Fall River for two years nearly a decade ago before losing to a rising political star now serving time in federal prison–has launched a bid to get his old job back. Sutter, who also served as district attorney of Bristol County, said he’s running because Mayor Paul Coogan has failed to deliver tangible results for the city. Jo C.Goode of the Herald-News notes Sutter served as mayor for just over a year before being ousted by Jasiel Correia in 2015.

Fall River Herald News

On another call, Shrewsbury cops discover $11 million counterfeit operation 

Shrewsbury police found more than 16,000 apparently counterfeit consumer goods inside a storage facility after they responded to a report of gunshots last month, the Telegram reports. Police say they found three storage units packed with $11.3 million worth of counterfeit items, many bearing fake brand name labels such as Rolex and Gucci, and continue to investigate who was responsible for the operation.

Telegram & Gazette

Commuter rail wins race to get to Boston from North Shore with no Sumner Tunnel 

To find out the best way to make the 13-mile trip from Lynn to Boston now that the Sumner Tunnel is closed until the end of August, The Item dispatched a team of reporters out to replicate various morning commutes. The reporter who hopped on the commuter rail at Lynn Station made the trip in 45 minutes — faster than those in a car, on the T subway and aboard the recently launched MBTA ferry.

Lynn Item

Take your time: Worcester reaping tax benefits from empty Amazon warehouse 

No one in Worcester seems to know when, if ever, Amazon will start using the massive warehouse it built on the site of the former Greendale Mall, but the Telegram’s Toni Caushi reports Amazon is current on its tax payments, with the city collecting about $450,000 since Amazon bought the site.

Telegram & Gazette

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.

Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList