November 29, 2023

Food City

The Best Darn Food City Uou Can Get

Running on the taxpayer dime- POLITICO

MONEY MATTERS — Lieutenant governor hopeful Tami Gouveia and attorney general candidate Quentin Palfrey are getting an infusion of taxpayer money to use in their primary campaigns.

The initial deposits from the state’s public campaign financing program more than double the amount of money either candidate had in their bank accounts at the end of June. But it still might not be enough for them to compete against better-funded rivals who are already pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into television advertising.

Gouveia and Palfrey can split $501,245 for the primary after three other candidates who initially sought public funding for their campaigns were either ineligible due to the lack of a primary opponent (GOP attorney general candidate Jay McMahon) or said they wouldn’t seek taxpayer money after all (Geoff Diehl and Leah Cole Allen).

Palfrey will get $165,412 to start and Gouveia will receive $143,994, with the potential for more matching funds if they make more contributions. Another $501,245 will be available for the general election.

Gouveia, a state representative, said the public money “allows candidates like me, a social worker and organizer, to spread our message further.” Both she and Palfrey said that accepting taxpayer money and placing limits on campaign spending — a requirement of the program — show their commitment to “clean” elections free of special-interest money.

Campaign finance has been a political purity test throughout the attorney general race. Palfrey and Shannon Liss-Riordan signed a so-called People’s Pledge to limit third-party spending in the race — which didn’t take effect because Andrea Campbell never signed on. Palfrey and Campbell have repeatedly ripped Liss-Riordan for self-funding her campaign.

Money isn’t everything in a campaign, but right now it’s been helping Liss-Riordan reach voters weeks before her rivals are scheduled to go up on the airwaves.

Liss-Riordan, who ended June with $382,560 in her campaign coffers, is already airing her first ad and has now placed more than $1.3 million in pre-primary ad buys, according to ad tracker AdImpact. That far exceeds Campbell’s nearly $600,000 in reservations and Palfrey’s $232,394. And it’s prompted accusations from Campbell’s campaign that Liss-Riordan has “poured $1 million of her own money on television ads” and isn’t “accountable to the people” by self-funding.

Liss-Riordan’s campaign told Playbook she’s contributing to her bid as needed, but declined to elaborate on how much. State campaign finance records don’t show any candidate loans from Liss-Riordan beyond the $500,000 she gave herself in March.

GOOD TUESDAY MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is urging President Joe Biden to expand eligibility for food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC regardless of immigration status, and provide more support to community-based groups working to combat food insecurity.

Those are just two of the recommendations Pressley is submitting to the Biden administration following a district convening on hunger in East Boston earlier this month. The listening sessions are part of the lead-up to the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, an effort championed by Rep. Jim McGovern.

With nearly one in three adults in Massachusetts experiencing food insecurity, according to a recent Greater Boston Food Bank survey, Pressley said “we must continue to provide solutions that are rooted in the reality of those who experience hunger and hardship firsthand.”

TODAY — Acting Gov. Karyn Polito announces the 2022 awards for the Permanent Supportive Housing program at 10:30 a.m. in Worcester. Rep. Lori Trahan is on WBUR’s “Radio Boston” at 11 a.m.

Tips? Scoops? Outdoor pool recommendations to beat the heat? Email me: [email protected].

— DANGER ZONE: Lawmakers sent Gov. Charlie Baker a more than $52 billion fiscal 2023 budget yesterday, giving the governor, who’s currently out of state at the Republican Governors Association conference in Colorado, 10 days to review the bill and send it back with amendments or vetoes.

Massachusetts is the last state to pass a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. But the real deadline danger comes later this week: Any bill that heads to the governor’s desk after Thursday runs the risk of Baker waiting out his 10-day review window and vetoing something after formal session ends on July 31.

That inevitable batch of bills will likely include the massive economic development bill working its way through the Legislature. The House passed its $4.2 billion bill last week. The Senate unveiled its $4.3 billion proposal on Monday but won’t take it up until Thursday. Key differences, including over changes to the state’s estate tax, mean the bills are likely headed to a conference committee and not to the governor’s desk that day.

Baker doesn’t have to take the full 10 days on any bill, but lawmakers also didn’t have to leave such a big bill until the last minute when they’ve been talking about doing some form of tax relief for months.

“Taxpayer relief would come sooner under Senate’s version of sweeping economic development bill,” by Samantha J. Gross and Matt Stout, Boston Globe: “The Massachusetts Senate on Monday unveiled a nearly $4.3 billion spending package that includes roughly $1 billion in tax breaks that would take effect this tax year, a year ahead of a similar relief plan that passed the House last week. … The tax cuts, which Senate President Karen E. Spilka described as ‘pretty massive,’ include an increased deduction for renters, an increased Earned Income Tax Credit, and an increased child and dependent tax credit. People would be able to claim the deductions when they file their taxes next year.”

“Abortion: Massachusetts Senate proposes $17.5 million funding boost for reproductive health care, family planning,” by Alison Kuznitz, MassLive: “The state Senate, in a roughly $4 billion economic development and tax relief bill unveiled Monday, carved out $17.5 million for reproductive health and family planning. The figure is $2.5 million more than what the House passed in a similar bill last week, with Senate President Karen Spilka attributing the boost to heightened costs tied to safety, security, infrastructure and access needs.”

“State budget is a lot more than just a spending plan,” by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: “On Monday, the Legislature prohibited marriage for minors under age 18 as part of the final state budget bill that emerged from a conference committee Sunday. … In theory, the budget is the vehicle used to fund state government. In practice, the state budget is frequently used as a catch-all policy vehicle, a way to use a bill that is guaranteed to pass to further policies that for whatever reason have not passed as standalone legislation. This year is no different, with policies included in the fiscal 2023 budget that range from extending universal free school meals to all students regardless of income to requiring sheriffs and corrections officials to provide free calls to incarcerated people.”

“Beacon Hill amendment would give $10 million toward Boston Long Island ferry service,” by Sean Philip Cotter and Matthew Medsger, Boston Herald: “The idea of a ferry to Boston’s Long Island is once again afloat as the latest version of a transportation bond bill approved by the state Senate includes $10 million for the long-discussed project. The amendment from state Sen. Nick Collins, a South Boston Democrat, garnered the unanimous support of the body last week to slide into the $10.4 billion package, which will now go to a conference committee aimed at ironing out the differences between the Senate version and the House one, which doesn’t include this and some other new amendments.”

— COMING SOON, MAYBE: Gun legislation in response to the Supreme Court ruling limiting states’ authority to restrict carrying firearms in public could surface before the end of session. Senate President Karen Spilka told reporters yesterday that lawmakers are working with Attorney General Maura Healey “to make sure whatever language we take up is what’s needed to specifically express the Supreme Court decision and to make it tight, to make it clear, so that if we’re going to do something to get it to the governor’s desk quickly and in time before the session is over.”

“Massachusetts commission considers designs for a new state seal and motto,” by Nirvani Williams, New England Public Media: “In a meeting Thursday, members of a subcommittee of the commission agreed that local plants and animals could be stronger visual images than humans in a new design.”

“Inside Provincetown’s ‘Herculean’ effort to save the summer from monkeypox,” by Alexander Thompson and Kay Lazar, Boston Globe: “Though Provincetown is vulnerable to monkeypox, public health officials and advocates say the LGBTQ+ haven is also uniquely prepared to handle public health threats by reactivating networks built up during the AIDS epidemic and put to the test during the coronavirus pandemic, when the Delta variant triggered the first known major outbreak of COVID-19 among a highly vaccinated group of people there last summer.”

“They built it. Few came,” by Hannah Green, Boston Business Journal: “Massachusetts has spent nearly a half-million dollars to build and launch a digital version of a Covid-19 vaccine card. So far, less than one-quarter of fully vaccinated state residents have used it.”

“Boston police unions sue city, council over tear gas, rubber bullet restrictions,” by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: “Two cop unions are suing Boston in an effort to cuff the city and its council’s ability to implement the controversial rule restricting less-lethal measures such as pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets. The Boston Police Superior Officers Federation and the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society say they filed suit on Monday over the ordinance, which went into law last year.”

“’The moral high ground’: Quincy mayor says he’d sue Boston over Adams book collection,” by Mary Whitfill, Patriot Ledger: “Mayor Thomas Koch said he would ‘absolutely’ pursue legal action against the Boston Public Library if the organization doesn’t agree to return the personal library of John Adams to Quincy, the second president’s final resting place.”

— SPILLING THE TEA ON THE T: “‘Who’s calling the shots at the T?’ MBTA leaders face questions over $300 million to address federal safety concerns,” by Chris Van Buskirk, MassLive: “State lawmakers spent hours questioning the two men responsible for the MBTA, General Manager Steve Poftak and Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler, in the wake of derailments, train crashes, escalator malfunctions, and an April death on the Red Line, all of which spurred the Federal Transportation Administration to conduct a safety inspection. Legislators used significant portions of the hearing to press Poftak and Tesler on transparency at the MBTA and the extent to which Gov. Charlie Baker’s office plays a role in crafting or approving public messages and press statements. A Boston Globe report found the MBTA planned to inform the public about three construction vehicle derailments on the Blue Line in May that lead to extended shutdowns, but opted not to after sharing draft statements with Baker’s press team.”

“Straus asks whether the T is still needed,” by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: “[Transportation Committee co-chair state Rep. Bill] Straus said the state used to have a Turnpike Authority, which built and then operated the Massachusetts Turnpike. Twelve years ago, he said, the state did away with the authority because it no longer contributed to the smooth functioning of the overall transportation system. ‘It may be we’re at a similar point with the MBTA,’ he said.

— SOME LIGHTER T FARE: “How did the MBTA train lines get their colors?” by Paris Alston, Jeremy Siegel and Edgar B. Herwick III, GBH News.

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: 5th Suffolk state representative candidate Christopher Worrell has been endorsed by state Reps. Brandy Fluker Oakley and Jon Santiago, his campaign said.

— NEW: Shannon Liss-Riordan has been endorsed for attorney general by state Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven, per her campaign.

— KEEP AN EYE OUT: For Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll on the IBEW Local 103 billboard over I-93 after she nabbed the union’s endorsement for lieutenant governor. Also in the billboard rotation are state Attorney General Maura Healey for governor, state Sen. Diana DiZoglio for auditor and NAACP Boston Branch President Tanisha Sullivan for secretary of state.

“Mass. insurers will cover abortion travel costs for members,” by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, WBUR: “Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care said they will cover airfare, rental cars, and hotel stays for people who can’t get abortions where they live. This follows a similar move from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.”

“Biden may visit Mass. this week,” by Ted Nesi, WPRI: “President Biden is considering a visit to Southeastern Massachusetts later this week, 12 News has learned. Details about the potential presidential trip remained scarce Monday night, though multiple people said security and logistical preparations were being undertaken in case the visit happens. They emphasized that planning remained preliminary.”

“Harvard Lobbies Congress to Cut Endowment Tax,” by Meghan Brink, Inside Higher Ed: “Leadership at Harvard University are pushing Congress to reduce the tax on their income from private donors. Leaders of similar universities with large endowments are in support of a reduction or elimination of the tax in its entirety.”

“New study attributes thousands of Mass. deaths to air pollution,” by Ross Cristantiello, “Thousands of Massachusetts residents are estimated to have died in 2019 from a silent, invisible killer: air pollution. Researchers at Boston College released their findings from 2019 data, the most recently available to them, in a new study this week. For the first time ever, air pollution data was also released on a town-by-town basis for each community in Massachusetts.”

“Mitchell: New Bedford ‘In a Competition’ for Offshore Wind Opportunities,” by Marcus Ferro, WBSM: “New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, in a moment of candor on WBSM’s SouthCoast Tonight, changed the tenor of the conversation around the efforts to make New Bedford a hub for the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the U.S. and sent a message to other port cities vying for similar opportunities. ‘We’re in a competition and we need to compete,’ Mitchell said.”

“Bax & O’Brien, former radio partners, set to be inducted into Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame,” by Stephanie Barry, Springfield Republican.

“R.I. Governor McKee’s senior adviser arrested in Vermont on felony charges,” by Alexa Gagosz, Boston Globe: “A senior adviser to Governor Daniel McKee was arrested on felony charges in Waterbury, Vermont, over the weekend. … ‘While we will not be commenting further on this ongoing issue, Mr. Farrell has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of this personal health matter,’ said Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Administration, in an emailed statement to the Globe Monday.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY — to Milton state Sen. Walter Timilty, Jordan Meehan, state representative candidate Simon Cataldo and Google’s Catherine Cloutier. Happy belated to Tammy Pittman, who celebrated Sunday, and to former Rep. Bill Delahunt, former state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez and Nate Everett, who celebrated Monday.

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