Saturday, March 2, 2013
The governor's optimistic but state legislators don't sound so sure. What do you think?
Governor Deval Patrick's still bullish about his budget proposal, which will raise $1.9 billion in new revenue through an increase in the income tax, decrease in the sales tax, and various other changes to taxes, fees and deductions. But the men and women who have to pass the bill don't sound as eager to support a package many see as a politically-damaging measure. The Boston Herald quotes several Beacon Hill legislators who sounded notes of caution to outright opposition to the budget. Those quoted cited the 1990 election losses in the wake of an income tax increase, pressure on small businesses and the higher price of gas as reasons they were skeptical. And the governor's new web tools touting proposed transportation and education …
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Do you agree with the governor's decision or was it too drastic?
All non-emergency drivers were ordered off the roads on Friday when Gov. Deval Patrick issued an executive order banning travel during the blizzard. (Editor's note: The ban is lifted statewide as of 4 p.m. Saturday.) Patrick's executive order is being praised by some and bashed by others, reported The Boston Globe. While former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who was in charge of the commonwealth during the Blizzard of ’78, praised the governor’s move, others called the order “tyrannical” and say the strict ban and hefty fines were too much, according to The Globe. Those caught violating the ban would face up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. What do you think? Do you agree with the governor’s decision or do you think the travel ban …
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2014 would raise $1.9 billion in new revenues through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. Is the state's economy ready for this?
After years of treading water in the state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick has put forth an ambitious $34.8 billion proposal for the coming fiscal year that would make significant investments in education and transportation by raising $1.9 billion in revenue, through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. The question: Is the state's economy ready for this? To raise that funding, Patrick's proposal would increase the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling personal exemptions. It'd also lower the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Several tax breaks for both personal income and businesses would be eliminated. The gas tax would be indexed to inflation, ensuring gradual increases in what …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would tighten gun control laws in Massachusetts while increasing funding for mental health services and enhance background checks. Is this sensible, or reactionary?
Are new proposed laws regarding guns in Massachusetts and mental health services sensible and pragmatic steps, or reactionary measures that won't increase safety? Gov. Deval Patrick introduced new legislation Wednesday along those lines in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, CT. "I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country," Patrick said in a press release. The bill would require gun purchasers to undergo background checks at gun shows, reduce access to high-powered rounds of ammunition, and limit licensed individuals to purchasing a maximum of one gun per month. Punishments …
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The state's transportation infrastructure needs $13 billion over the next 10 years. How would you raise the case needed to repair and expand highways, bridges and public transit?
Governor Deval Patrick and the Department of Transportation unveiled their new plan for the state's transportation infrastructure on Monday. The plan, which calls for reinvestment, repair and expansion of the commonwealth's highways, bridges and public transportation, comes with a hefty $13 billion price tag. Raising the amount of money needed would require a significant revenue increase. Income, payroll and gas taxes, increased tolls and registration fees, green vehicle surcharges and other proposals are all on the table. Patrick is expected to detail his revenue proposal during Wednesday night's state of the state address. Now it's your turn: How would you fund the state's transportation plan? Or is the plan too ambitious (read: …
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
In January, the cabinet will have new secretaries of finance, education, health and public safety.
Governor Deval Patrick announced late last week that he has appointed four new secretaries to join his cabinet. In January, Glen Shor will replace outgoing Secretary of Finance Jay Gonzalez; Matt Malone will replace Secretary of Education Paul Reville; John Polanowicz will replace Secretary of Health JudyAnn Bigby; and Sheriff Andrea Cabral will replace Secretary of Public Safety Marybeth Heffernan. “Glen, Matt, John and Andrea are the real deal. They come to their new positions with the expertise, the talent, the respect and the vision to achieve our bold agenda over the next two years,” Patrick said. “Jay, Paul, Judy and Marybeth were instrumental in achieving the cornerstones of an agenda that is making a difference,” he added. “This …
Thursday, December 13, 2012
The state leader joined rabbis from around the Boston area in celebrating the fifth night of Hanukkah on Wednesday.
Gov. Deval Patrick joined rabbis and members of Boston's Jewish community to light the menorah in Copley Square on the fifth night of Hanukkah. "It is my honor, and joy, to be with you all to recognize the significance of an ancient truth, which is that freedom is light. And let us all let that light shine in our lives, in our communities, in our Commonwealth and in our country. And, indeed, in the hearts of those especially suffering all around the world. Happy Hanukkah everyone, and thank you for including me," Patrick said before climbing into a cherry picker to light the five candles. Patrick was joined by Shai Bazak, the Israeli counselor general in New England, at the event hosted by Rabbi Mayer Zarchi of Boston Chabad, a newly …
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Gov. Deval Patrick says the state’s toll system will be fully automated by 2015.
Though users of the E-ZPass service never have to stop for a toll collector on the MassPike now, in just over two years, no one will have to. Gov. Deval Patrick said today that all toll collectors will be phased out by 2015 to make way for a fully automated toll taking system on the Mass Pike, according to Boston.com. Patrick said the state will provide a “dignified and soft landing” for the 410 toll workers who would be laid off, according to the news site. (By the way, Charlestown residents can get a resident discount for the Tobin Bridge with the purchase of an E-ZPass.) Do you think the state should move to the new automated system or should Massachusetts stick with the system in place now? Tell us in the comments.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The brief ceremony followed his reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Gov. Deval Patrick read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to children at the State House on Wednesday and then went to the front steps to count down to the tree lighting.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Patrick announced the budget adjustments Tuesday.
In anticipation of the “fiscal cliff” combined with projected tax revenues that are more than half a billion dollars lower than previously expected, Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday released a revised budget designed to deal with the gap. “The uncertainty of the fiscal cliff and the resulting slow down in growth, is the direct cause of our budget challenges,” Patrick said. “Congress and the President must come to terms on a solution so the private sector will continue to make the kind of investments that create jobs, grow state and federal tax revenue collections and contribute to a lasting economic recovery." The state is now expecting to bring in roughly 21.5 billion in tax revenue, and Patrick's plan to bridge the gap between this amount …