Spring 2011

Spring 2011

Hollywood stars not paying taxes?

Some of Hollywood’s hottest stars may be shortchanging Massachusetts on their taxes. A brief reference at the end of the state Revenue Department’s latest report on the film tax credit says the agency received no income taxes on residual payments to actors and directors who shot movies in Massachusetts between 2006 and 2009. There was(...)

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Public or private?

Public or private?

gov. deval patrick clearly doesn’t think much of the judiciary’s management skills. He’s filed legislation calling for a professional manager, instead of a judge, to oversee the trial court. He wants to move the patronage-plagued Probation Department out of the judicial branch and into the executive branch. And he wants to abolish the judiciary’s Committee(...)

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Urban (love) affairs

Urban (love) affairs

Ed Glaeser explains why cities are the hub of economic innovation—and our best hope for saving the planet

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier By Edward Glaeser New York, The Penguin Press, 352 pages REVIEWED BY JOHN SCHNEIDER cities have always been my hometown. I’ve lived in five of them during my lifetime. The only house I have ever owned is in a city.(...)

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Piloting global payments

Piloting global payments

The new prix fixe system for health care reimbursement is getting a try-out in Lowell, but key details are still murky

Gerri Vaughan, the executive director of the Lowell General Physicians Hospital Organization, answers a question about the state’s rush to em­brace a global payment system with a question. “If Pat the patient comes, how do we deal with Pat?” she asks. Dr. David Pickul, seated across from Vaughan in a conference room at Lowell General,(...)

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Endless loop

Nearly a year ago Attorney General Martha Coakley proposed new regulations to protect auto insurance consumers, but she’s never pulled the trigger and implemented them. Coakley solicited feedback on her proposal last summer and since then has kept extending the deadline for comments for several months at a time. The current deadline is April 15.(...)

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Reigning supreme

Reigning supreme

Clerk-magistrates, with lifetime tenure and no mandatory retirement age, rule the roost in Massachusetts courthouses.

Ronald Arruda is the clerk-magistrate of the Bristol Juvenile Court, which is a little like saying he is the king of his court. He was appointed to the job by former Gov. Edward  King in 1982 and, while six governors have come and gone since then, Arruda hasn’t budged. The 66-year-old clerk-magistrate can keep earning(...)

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Boston NAACP moves to recapture relevance

Boston NAACP moves to recapture relevance

The NAACP’s Boston branch all but dropped out of sight in recent years, but new president Michael Curry is looking to erase doubts about the all-volunteer organization’s relevancy by stepping up its advocacy for civil rights in education and the workplace. Since moving into the top slot earlier this year, the 42-year-old Curry has focused(...)

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Labor’s love lost

Labor’s love lost

How public sector unions became the bête noire of uneasy times

When it comes to rising anger toward public sector unions, Wisconsin’s hard-charging Republican governor, Scott Walker, has taken the battle to a new—and caustic —level. But think of Barry Bluestone as the canary in the coal mine. Nearly two years ago, Bluestone penned an op-ed in the Boston Globe warning of a growing backlash against(...)

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No easy patronage cure

No easy patronage cure

Some say Civil Service is the way to rid government of patronage hiring. But is the cure worse than the disease?

the massachusetts trial Court’s policies and procedures manual says all hiring is to be based strictly on merit. No practice or appearance of nepotism or favoritism is allowed. Yet for almost a decade the state’s Probation Department did just the opposite. The hiring process was rigged top to bottom to employ job candidates recommended by(...)

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