By Mary Markos BOSTON HERALD | July 18, 2019
A government watchdog is calling for new leadership after the “embarrassment” of Massachusetts coming in dead last across the nation on finalizing a budget for the second year in a row.Read more
By Bob Katzen | July 9, 2019
Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from recent sessions. There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.Read more
By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter | July 8, 2019
BOSTON — Fiscal watchdogs are urging Gov. Charlie Baker to veto a labor-friendly proposal aimed at softening the blow of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that curbs the ability of unions to automatically take dues from workers' paychecks.Read more
By Bob Salsberg ASSOCIATED PRESS | July 2, 2019
BOSTON (AP) — State budget negotiators were continuing closed-door talks Tuesday as Massachusetts again earned the dubious distinction of being among the few U.S. states without a permanent spending plan in place for the new fiscal year.
July 1 came and went without the Democratic-controlled Legislature reaching an agreement on a $42.7 billion budget.
A six-member panel led by Sen. Michael Rodrigues, of Westport, and Aaron Michlewitz, of Boston, are trying to resolve disagreements over the House and Senate versions of the plan.Read more
By The Lowell Sun | July 2, 2019
BOSTON Unable to agree on an annual state budget by the July 1 deadline, House and Senate Democrats are breaking for the Fourth of July holiday and now hoping that a budget deal might come next week.
By Mary Markos, Boston Herald | June 8, 2019
Almost $3 billion in state revenue hasn’t been collected over the years, according to a Herald analysis of state data, while legislators prepare to vote on the “millionaires tax” in an attempt to fatten the state’s wallet.Read more
By Mary Markos BOSTON HERALD | May 29, 2019
A proposal to give the auditor access to state-issued credit card records and keep employees accountable was shot down in the Senate budget debate process last week at the hand of the Ways and Means chairman, who said the measure was “duplicative.”Read more
Last week, the Senate passed its version of the energy omnibus bill aimed at addressing our state’s pressing energy problems. The bill, entitled “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity” included some truly outrageous provisions.
First, the proposed law requires individuals selling houses to provide the results of energy audits to potential buyers. Proponents say it's like reporting miles per gallon on vehicles, but realtors around the state have quite a different opinion. The provision would create a brand-new level of bureaucracy, drive up costs, and add nothing to the already-common but optional home inspection process.
The Senate bill would also levy a 2.5 cents per gallon tax on home heating oil sales to pay for “energy efficiency measures.” You might remember, the legislature proposed a gas tax last session tied to the rate of inflation which was subsequently repealed by the voters. Thwarted only momentarily, Senate leaders are now pushing a tax on home heating oil.
In its unkindest cut of all, the Senate version of the energy omnibus bill allows Cape Wind to bid on offshore wind contracts. Cape Wind has in the past promised cheap, clean energy, while planning to sell almost 78% of it to power companies for roughly two times the average cost of power generated by U.S. suppliers. And, their advertised price of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour was slated to increase by 3.5 percent in each year of its 15-year contract. The House bill rightfully froze them out of the bidding process. The Senate, apparently, decided to forgive and forget.
A conference committee has been organized between the House and the Senate to iron out differences between the two versions over the coming weeks. Let’s hope they have enough sense to leave out the unnecessary headaches for energy payers.