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The push for potential tax cuts in Mass. just got a crucial boost

House Speaker Ron Mariano speaks to reporters on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
House Speaker Ron Mariano speaks to reporters on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

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


We’ll be sharing the latest updates on Donald Trump’s historic indictment as more details emerge today. So far, we know that a Manhattan grand jury has voted to indict Trump, making him the first former U.S. president to face a criminal charge after leaving office.

The specific charges remain under seal, but prosecutors say they are working to coordinate Trump’s surrender as soon as early next week. (Trump and other Republicans are arguing the charges are politically motivated.) Here are some quick links if you’re just catching up:

Switching gears to Massachusetts news, get ready for a lot of tax talk over the next few months (and not just because of the upcoming filing deadline).

After months of cautious comments about the idea of cutting taxes, House Speaker Ron Mariano announced yesterday that his chamber will indeed release its own tax break proposal. During a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Quincy Democrat said the bill will aim to make the state more affordable and more competitive, though it remains to be seen how closely it aligns with the tax proposal Gov. Maura Healey put forward a month ago.

  • Few details: Mariano didn’t offer any specifics, but WBUR’s Steve Brown reports that he suggested the House’s bill would be similar to the package that was on track to pass last year, before falling apart when an old revenue law forced the state to return $3 billion in rebates. (That bill also served as a jumping off point for Healey’s proposal.) Mariano said they’re considering breaks for “families, renters and many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.” And like Healey’s bill, Mariano suggested there would be some sort of increase to the Massachusetts estate tax threshold.
  • What we don’t know: Brown reports Mariano refused to put a dollar amount on the forthcoming bill — so it’s unclear how it compares in size to Healey’s $750 million proposal.
  • The timeline: Mariano expects the House to unveil its tax cut proposal sometime next month — “just before” the House begins debate on the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.

In related news: Mariano also announced the House is on board with Healey’s proposal to make in-state community college free for residents over the age of 25 who don’t already have a college degree. Still, there’s some negotiating left to do between Healey, Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka, who pledged earlier this year to push for free community college for all students, regardless of age.

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  • ICYMI: Spilka’s statewide vision is at least becoming a reality within the city limits of Boston. Mayor Michelle Wu announced yesterday that all Boston residents will be eligible for tuition-free community college at one of six local institutions beginning this fall. WBUR’s Max Larkin has more details here.

A section of Massachusetts state law that paused evictions during the pandemic for tenants with pending applications for rental aid is set to expire at the end of the day — eliciting concern from housing advocates.

Your weekly MBTA diversion: Shuttle buses are replacing Red Line service this weekend between JFK/UMass and Braintree so crews can work on the tracks and hopefully lift some slow zones. Honestly, the free buses might be preferable for some riders given the number of slow zones plaguing that stretch of the Red Line.

  • How slow is it? The T’s slow zone tracker shows eight separate 10 mph speed restrictions between JFK/UMass and Braintree. A brief Twitter search will also show you that MBTA riders have described the Red Line’s Braintree leg with terms ranging from “getting worse” to “GLACIALLY slow” to “utter trash.”

P.S.— Why do 2.3 million Bay Staters need to keep an eye out for a blue envelope in their mailboxes in the coming weeks? Take our Boston News Quiz and see how well you know this week’s stories.

Related:

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

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