Michael P. Norton
Stories by Michael P. Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE The Baker administration has agreed on a course for the first phase of long-promised commuter rail service to the South Coast, working under an approach that contemplates diesel service along an existing Middleborough/Lakeville rail line while engineering, design and permitting work continues on a possible electric service route through Stoughton. Transportation(...)
Sudders: 'This is not a Quaker consensus meeting'
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE DIFFERENCES AMONG MEMBERS of a 23-person commission examining health care pricing variations were on full display Tuesday on the 21st floor of One Ashburton Place. Commission members discussing potential recommendations quickly disagreed over whether hospital prices are low are not, comparatively speaking, and members made clear that uncertainty over the federal(...)
Bill rushed through in scarcely attended mid-holiday session
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE HOUSE AND SENATE on Wednesday passed a bill (S 2524) that would delay the licensing of retail marijuana outlets by six months, which could push the regulated sale of pot well into 2018. Possession, use, and marijuana home-growing provisions of the law took effect Dec. 15 and those aspects of(...)
Revenue dip continues perplexing seesaw pattern
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE STATE REVENUE OFFICIALS collected $105 million less in taxes last month than they did in November 2015, contributing to a long-running up-and-down pattern that has flummoxed state budget writers and forced them to continually reopen and redraft state spending plans. The Department of Revenue on Friday afternoon, three days ahead of(...)
Action follows letter from four US reps from Mass.
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE MASSACHUSETTS TREASURER DEB GOLDBERG has instructed her debt management deputies to immediately remove Wells Fargo from their approved list of underwriters for one year. Four Massachusetts congressmen on Monday implored Goldberg to cut Treasury business ties with the bank. Congressman Stephen Lynch and three of his colleagues said in a letter(...)
Can't be repaired without shutting them down
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE CAST IRON AND STEEL PIPES and valves integral to the tunnel system that provides 60 percent of the water to eastern Massachusetts communities served by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority are in such poor condition that the system’s overseers have avoided engaging them due to fears of a catastrophic failure. Authority(...)
Use $60m from Convention Center Fund to offset tax shortfall
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE on Thursday fast-tracked a spending bill to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk aimed at closing the books on fiscal 2016, which ended June 30, in part by drawing up to $60 million from the state’s Convention Center Fund to use for general spending purposes. The spending bill emerged from(...)
Housing secretary says city manager job 'not the right fit'
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE JAY ASH, SECRETARY, for the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and one of three finalists for the open Cambridge city manager’s post, has withdrawn from the competition for the job. Ash publicly interviewed for the post last week but said in a statement on Wednesday that he’s decided(...)
'My history has been to stay away from taxes'
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE With tax revenue growth falling short of levels needed to meet spending demands, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said over the weekend that he wants to hear from economists before rendering an updated opinion on higher taxes. DeLeo’s opinion on tax increases carries extra weight on Beacon Hill – tax hikes must(...)
Won't even test vehicle-miles-traveled fee
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE WHEN GOV. CHARLIE BAKER signs a highway and small bridge repair funding bill on Wednesday, the Republican governor plans to nix a proposed pilot program to test a system that would charge drivers based on how many miles they drive. Labeling the vehicle-miles-traveled pilot program a “tax,” Baker said he will(...)