The Back Story

Fact-checking the T’s structural deficit

Fact-checking the T’s structural deficit

Key lawmaker, advocate say there is no shortfall

Over the last two weeks, the MBTA has repeatedly cited the existence of a “structural deficit” to make the case for its controversial spending cuts and privatization initiatives In a presentation on March 13 and again on Monday, T officials outlined a series of tough choices they said were necessary to close a $42 million(...)

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Competing strategies emerge on offshore wind

Competing strategies emerge on offshore wind

Eversource, National Grid push different transmission options

TWO VERY DIFFERENT strategies are beginning to emerge as three offshore wind companies prepare to vie for up to 1,600 megawatts of contracts with the state of Massachusetts. The powerhouse partnership of DONG Energy and Eversource Energy, operating under the name of Bay State Wind, has adopted what might be described as a go-it-alone, bigger-is-better(...)

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Clean energy intrigue alleged

Clean energy intrigue alleged

Environmental advocates say RFP favors hydro over wind, solar

Environmental advocates say a 1,200 megawatt clean energy solicitation developed by the Baker administration is biased in favor of large-scale hydro projects favored by some of the state’s utilities. The energy diversity legislation authorizing the clean energy procurement was approved last year on Beacon Hill with a provision giving preference to hybrid projects that deliver(...)

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ML Strategies breaks lobbying record

ML Strategies breaks lobbying record

Well-connected firm raked in more than $4m in fees in 2016

ML Strategies saw its lobbying fees soar to more than $4 million in 2016, setting what appears to be a single-year record among Massachusetts firms.   ML Strategies, which is wholly owned by the law firm Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, has seen its business explode in the last three years. The lobbying(...)

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DeVos selection roils reform sector

DeVos selection roils reform sector

Some charter backers rush to distance themselves from ed pick

THE BATTLE OVER President Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, had teachers unions, public school advocates, and many on the political left in high dudgeon. DeVos’s record of support for charter schools and voucher programs, and her lack of any experience in district public schools, made her the target of the most organized effort to(...)

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Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Eversource seeks higher fees on customers with solar

Environmental group raises concerns about proposed demand charge

Eversource is proposing special charges for customers with solar installations to make sure they pay their share of the cost of operating the power grid. The proposed charges are contained in Eversource’s rate filing, which is under review at the state Department of Public Utilities. The utility says the charges are needed because many solar(...)

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Baker moves to collect tax on internet sales

Baker moves to collect tax on internet sales

Counting on $30 million in revenues in FY2018

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER IS LAUNCHING an initiative to indirectly start collecting sales tax from Massachusetts residents making purchases over the internet. The move by Baker is somewhat risky, both politically and legally. Court decisions have barred states from requiring companies outside their borders to collect and remit sales taxes incurred by their residents, but in(...)

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MassHousing conflict?

MassHousing conflict?

Official failed to disclose ties to father, girlfriend

THE STATE’S CONFLICT of interest law seems pretty straightforward. A public official may not participate in any matter in which she or a member of her immediate family has a financial interest. But real life, as illustrated by a situation at the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, is rarely that simple. CommonWealth received a tip recently(...)

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Baker’s record on records

Baker’s record on records

Governor withheld documents in 33 instances

Over the past two years, Gov. Charlie Baker has responded to 33 requests for public records by either withholding the information in its entirety or releasing it in redacted form. Baker’s record on records requests, which itself was obtained through a public records request, aligns with his view that his office is not subject to(...)

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Logan inching toward agreement with Uber, Lyft

Logan inching toward agreement with Uber, Lyft

Change in Massport regs could be death knell for cabs

Massport is quietly trying to fashion new regulations to open up Logan Airport to all ride-hailing drivers but, six months after passage of a state law paving the way for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate, the sides are still unable to reach an agreement. A Massport spokeswoman said the bill(...)

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