Baker likes the center

Gov. Charlie Baker demonstrated again on Monday his ability to shape-shift to the political center.

The Republican governor, who had once floated the idea of merging the state’s Life Sciences Center into a broader economic development agency, opted instead for a five-year extension of his Democratic predecessor’s life science initiative. He said he would ask lawmakers to approve $295 million in capital spending and $150 million in tax incentives for the biotech and medtech industries.

Baker also moved to the center on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. His administration for months has been pressing the Conservancy to prepare for life without $2 million a year in operating funds from the state. Just last month, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack bristled when the Conservancy instead made a pitch that state funding continue for another 10 years. “We were not happy with that proposal,” said Pollack.

But on Monday Pollack was all smiles as she announced a new funding deal with the Conservancy that would keep state funds flowing for another 10 years, albeit at the reduced level of $750,000 a year.

The Conservancy and life sciences initiatives show why Baker is so difficult to pigeonhole and why his political rivals have so few openings. Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, a big supporter of President Trump, calls Baker “Tall Deval,” suggesting that only his height separates him from former Democratic governor Deval Patrick.

Meanwhile, the three Democrats running for governor keep firing away, but they don’t have a lot of ammunition. The downgrade of the state’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s and the governor’s refusal to take a clear stand on the millionaire’s tax have been their best points of attack. “It’s really easy to be popular when you don’t do anything, when you don’t take a stand,” said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie.

One thing is for sure: Baker is good at math. The governor said he needs to garner a third of Democratic voters and 60 percent of independents to win reelection; his assumption is that Republicans will stay with him because they have nowhere else to go. The math is fairly simple, and helps explain the politics behind his decisions.



The state, the city of Boston, and abutting businesses sign a funding deal for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. (CommonWealth)

State Rep. Mark Cusack denied that animosity over the Lottery’s possible move out of his hometown of Braintree contributed to a pot bill provision that would limit the control of Treasurer Deborah Goldberg over the Cannabis Control Commission. Goldberg oversees the Lottery. (CommonWealth)

Despite the state’s budget problems, Gov. Charlie Baker says a sales tax holiday this year is worth exploring. (State House News)

Pioneer Institute research director Greg Sullivan says he’s looking at state revenue department data in an effort to predict whether a so-called “millionaire’s tax” would prompt outmigration of high earners. (Boston Herald) Stanford researcher Cristobal Young has studied the issue nationally using US Department of Treasury data on the movement of every million-dollar-plus earner over a 13-year period and found little evidence that tax rates drive interstate migration of the wealthy. (CommonWealth)


The Lowell Spinners baseball team signs a new lease with the city. (Lowell Sun)

Square One Mall in Saugus reopens after a lockdown initiated after a teenager allegedly stole a rifle from Dick’s Sporting Goods. (MassLive)

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. is seeking City Council approval to aggregate residents to purchase electricity in bulk with the goal of reducing costs. (Telegram & Gazette)

A Gloucester developer is suing the city of Peabody over its taking of his property by eminent domain, saying the taking violated his civil rights. (Salem News)

Boston city councilors express skepticism about the idea of establishing a “safe injection site” for intravenous drug addicts. (Boston Herald)


Senate Democrats, unable to use the filibuster to block the secretive GOP health care overhaul, are planning to employ a number of procedural delays to derail the process. (U.S. News & World Report) Getting 50 Republican votes for the plan won’t be easy when you need to corral moderates like Susan Collins of Maine and conservatives like Rand Paul of Kentucky. (Boston Globe)

The Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibits issuing trademarks that are offensive or insensitive, a ruling that could boost the Washington Redskins attempt to retain the team’s trademark protection. (New York Times)


The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over whether political gerrymandering violates the Constitution. (New York Times)

Joan Vennochi can’t understand why Joe Biden would encourage Mitt Romney to run for Senate from Utah, given how unprincipled she says Mitt has been on everything from health care reform to standing up to a president he once denounced as a “fraud” and a “con.” (Boston Globe)


The Federal Trade Commission says it will sue to block the proposed merger of DraftKings and FanDuel, arguing that it would control 90 percent of the paid fantasy sports market and violate antitrust laws.

A special Town Meeting in Hanover approved a 16-year tax-exemption agreement for the owners of the Hanover Mall to demolish the oldest retail complex on the South Shore and develop an open air mall similar to nearby Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham. (Patriot Ledger)

A fifth member of the board of directors of Camp Farley, a 4-H camp on Cape Cod, has resigned in the wake of the director being arrested in charges of solicitation of a prostitute, saying he can no longer tolerate the “boys will be boys” mentality of other board members. (Cape Cod Times)


Some Barnstable parents are upset over a proposed shift that would have high school students start their school day later but, in turn, result in an earlier start for some younger students. (Cape Cod Times)

Major League Baseball strikes a deal with Northeastern University to have ballplayers take classes from the university. (Boston Globe)


The MBTA plans to spend nearly $27 million overhauling 10 commuter rail locomotives that are 30 years old and have already been overhauled once. (CommonWealth)

The T’s consolidation of three paratransit centers into one appears to be off to a rocky start. (CommonWealth)

T officials say the MBTA Retirement Fund is “deteriorating rapidly.”

A group of lawmakers led by state Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow are trying to drum up support around the state for  high-speed trains connecting Boston and Springfield that would make stops in Metrowest and Worcester. (MetroWest Daily News)


An abandoned school property in Fall River could become a multi-use complex with restaurants, offices, and a hotel if environmental test drilling produces a clean contamination report on a site that was once abutting industrial use buildings. (Herald News)


A decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs triggered by a judge’s ruling on the Mashpee Wampanoag request for land in trust in Mashpee and East Taunton was not issued as expected Monday. (Cape Cod Times)


A Worcester couple is arrested for stuffing the remains of a newborn in a garbage bag and dumping it in the woods. (Telegram & Gazette)

Lori Ann Barron, who is being called the Merrimack Valley Madam, is found guilty of multiple counts of sex trafficking and prostitution. (Eagle-Tribune)


A Globe editorial bids adieu to Dot as the paper pulls up stakes from its long-time Dorchester home for new digs downtown. Former Globe manager editor Tom Mulvoy offers this paean to the paper’s Dorchester years. (Dorchester Reporter)

White House media blackout has reporters talking mutiny. (The Daily Beast)

Politico has a lengthy look at the rivalry and friendship that has marked the long relationship between New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron.