Why the future for tax cuts in Mass. looks increasingly foggy

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has declared a cold emergency tomorrow through the weekend, with wind chills expected to drop as low as -30 degrees Friday night. The declaration means the city’s community centers will be turned into warming stations Friday and Saturday.

If you see someone experiencing homelessness out in the cold, call 911. As Wu told reporters this week, “even one person” outside is too many.

To today’s news:

During an interview earlier this week, Gov. Maura Healey deferred when asked about the tax relief plans she campaigned on last year. “So much of this originates with the House,” Healey said on GBH. But as WBUR’s Steve Brown reports from the State House, it’s becoming increasingly unclear what, if anything, will originate from the House. Speaker Ron Mariano — who’s been the most openly cautious about state revenues among the so-called “Big Three” — was noncommittal on supporting tax relief proposals this year. “I think the situation has changed,” Mariano said, citing the uncertain economic outlook.

  • What are we talking about again? Gov. Charlie Baker’s original proposal — which Healey generally supported — included breaks for low-income earners, seniors, renters and parents, as well as relaxations of the estate and capital gains taxes. Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka were also on board, until an old revenue cap law emerged last summer, triggering $3 billion in rebates and scuttling the tax relief agreement.
  • With Healey in charge, there’s a good chance there’ll be some changes to that plan. In her inaugural address, the Democrat specifically plugged her proposed child tax credit and increased tax deductions for renters, along with “several worthy tax cut proposals” from the Legislature.
  • Mariano’s comments come just a few days after budget writers agreed that the state’s projected revenue will remain high this year. But he suggested he wants at least “some” additional hearings on the matter before making a decision.

School is back in session today in Nantucket after a ransomware attack crippled the district’s computer system earlier this week. But there’s a catch: students will only use school-issued Chromebooks; no outside electronic devices will be allowed.

  • Meanwhile in Woburn, school will be canceled for a fourth straight day as the ongoing teachers’ strike stretches on. Read more here from WBUR’s Max Larkin on how the impasse between Woburn city leaders and teachers has been received by parents.

Could Marty Walsh follow his friend Charlie Baker into the sports worldMultiple outlets are reporting the former Boston mayor-turned-U.S. labor secretary is a top candidate to be the next leader of the NHL Players’ Association. There’s no official deal yet, but it would combine Walsh’s interests as a former union leader and longtime hockey fan.

  • What’s next: TSN reports the NHLPA board will meet today to discuss its leadership search.

Give yourself some extra time if you’re headed to the Cape via the Sagamore bridge this spring. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced yesterday that they’re planning to reduce the four-lane bridge to one lane in each direction for “critical” 24/7 maintenance work, from March 1 through May. That means likely delays during the morning and evening commutes.

  • The good news is that, “weather permitting,” the Corps hopes to finish the project and reopen all four lanes by the busy Memorial Day weekend, according to spokesman Bryan Purtell.
  • The bad news is that both nearly 90-year-old Cape Cod bridges — the Bourne and Sagamore — remain in dire need of work well beyond this spring. The Corps is hoping to replace both spans with new bridges, but were recently denied a crucial federal grant.
  • This week, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey wrote letters to MassDOT and the Corps, urging them to go all-in on their third try for federal funding when the application window opens later this year. They also want the Corps to pony up more funding.

P.S.— Have you noticed the new feature at the bottom of this newsletter each morning? It’s WBUR’s new daily mini crossword! Each game includes a timer and a couple hints linked to the news. Try it out! You might even be able to finish it quicker than Wordle.

Headshot of Nik DeCosta-Klipa

Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



More from WBUR

Listen Live