Fall 2012

Fall 2012

Closing the biomass carbon loophole

Closing the biomass carbon loophole

Burning wood not that clean

worldwide, forest fires and forest harvesting are recognized as major sources of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is warming the climate, causing drought, and melting ice caps. Yet, paradoxically, most state, regional, and federal efforts to reduce emissions treat biomass power plants that burn wood for fuel as “carbon neutral,” with zero net emissions. Massachusetts(...)

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Half full or half empty?

Half full or half empty?

The rate continues its decade-long fall

from the sound bites blanketing the airwaves, it’s clear that politicians everywhere are concerned about the impact of the recession and slow recovery on the middle class. Elected leaders intuitively feel the public angst. But are things truly getting worse for middle-class families? Or are voters mostly reacting to the constant barrage of dispiriting media(...)

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Correspondence

Green is good, economically My fellow real estate developer David Begelfer misses the mark when he suggests Massachusetts’ forward-looking climate and energy policies are somehow too expensive and bad for our economy (“Out Front on Climate Change,” Summer ’12). The truth is, that since the enactment of the 2008 Green Communities Act, average monthly energy(...)

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High-stakes test

High-stakes test

Trying to fix a broken school district may be the right thing to do, but no one has ever succeeded at it. Can Lawrence break the mold?

  Lawrence school receiver Jeff Riley greets families in late August on the first day of school at Lawrence High School jeff riley received a fairly consistent piece of advice when he was considering the offer to become receiver for the Lawrence public schools, the person in charge of the state takeover of the chronically(...)

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No dice

No dice

A casino would hurt, not help, Holyoke’s economic redevelopment efforts

since the state of Massachusetts legalized casino gambling, many cities throughout the state have begun competing for the opportunity to place a casino within their borders. Indeed, many in my hometown have advocated for a casino in Holyoke, calling it a potential boon to our struggling economy. Proponents of a casino here suggest that this(...)

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Here comes StateStat

Massachusetts joins the movement to track data to improve government performance

FOLLOWING THE LEAD of many cities and towns across the country, the state of Massachusetts is launching a program to harness more data that can be used to sharpen government performance and deliver not just services but results. A new state law requires state managers to set goals, collect data measuring their progress in meeting(...)

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All in

All in

A destination resort casino can be part of the revitalization of Springfield

on august 27, I announced that Springfield was beginning its selection process for a destination resort casino project pursuant to the Commonwealth’s recently enacted gaming legislation. This legislation is unique in that it places strict limits on the number of casinos permitted in the Commonwealth and requires each gaming licensee to make a minimum capital(...)

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Making it in Massachusetts

Making it in Massachusetts

Reports of the death of manufacturing here, and across the country, have been greatly exaggerated.

  Barry Bluestone (left), dean of the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University,and Michael Tamasi (right), owner of AccuRounds and a leading manufacturing industry voice. when the great recession battered employment across the country, manufacturing jobs—already on a decades-long slide—took a big hit. In Massachusetts, of the 300,000 manufacturing jobs the state(...)

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Waiver warfare

Waiver warfare

Obama administration offers states waivers from education and welfare law, but Republicans raise alarms

of the domestic policy achievements of the past two decades, most would agree the two biggest are the welfare reform law of 1996 and the No Child Left Behind education law of 2001. The first ended guaranteed lifetime cash assistance to needy families and required the poor to work while receiving temporary aid. The education(...)

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Romney writes off 2002 campaign loan

GOP nominee forgives $550,000 loan

FOR NEARLY EVERYONE else, a half-million dollars would be a pretty healthy retirement account. But for Mitt Romney, who has an estimated worth of $250 million, it’s akin to change under the couch cushions. When Romney was running for governor in 2002, he loaned his campaign $550,000, a sum that included $150,000 to clean up(...)

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