Massachusetts Legislature

Lawmakers reach pot compromise

Lawmakers reach pot compromise

Bill boosts tax up to 20 percent, creates unique mechanism for local control

FIRE UP THE SMOKING lamp. House and Senate negotiators finally reached a compromise on amending the voter-approved law legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, agreeing to levy a tax of up to 20 percent and approving a different process to implement bans or restrictions based on election results from last November. “Compromise means you get some of what(...)

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Employers can help with student debt

Employers can help with student debt

Tax breaks would incentivize firms to provide aid

AS THE STUDENT DEBT CRISIS worsens, elected officials are turning to college affordability as their primary policy solution. New York is implementing tuition-free public higher education through its Excelsior Scholarship, and our neighbors to the south are close to making two years of college free through the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship. Right here in Massachusetts,(...)

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Package store leader has it wrong

Package store leader has it wrong

Pumped-up prices don’t reduce drunken driving

FRANK ANZALOTTI, who leads Massachusetts’ package store trade association, has it wrong. Not only does he misunderstand calls to reform outdated Commonwealth alcohol laws, he misrepresents Total Wine & More’s role in that process. (See “Mega booze store out for self“). Updating targeted regulations from their Prohibition-era origins, ensuring a fair market, and including protections(...)

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Tired of waiting, Dempsey exits House for lobbying firm

Tired of waiting, Dempsey exits House for lobbying firm

Decision indicates DeLeo is not retiring anytime soon

THE PERCEIVED HEIR APPARENT to House Speaker Robert DeLeo said on Thursday that he is stepping down to take a top job at the high-powered lobbying firm ML Strategies, a move that suggests the speaker is not inclined to retire anytime soon. Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, the chairman of the House Ways and Means(...)

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Are thoroughbreds a good bet for the state?

Are thoroughbreds a good bet for the state?

Beacon Hill struggling with subsidies for the sport of kings

TEN HORSES SHOOT OUT of the gate with Simply Mas moving quickly to take the lead. The pack bunches up at the first turn, with Worth the Worry moving up on the inside and Goodbyeguinessbok gaining ground on the outside.  As they head down the stretch, Simply Mas fades and Worth the Worry surges to(...)

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Beating the craps out of each other

Beating the craps out of each other

A Massachusetts-Connecticut border war over gambling stirs fears of an Atlantic City meltdown

Illustration by Phil Foster CASINOS ARE ABOUT GAMBLING. Take away the restaurants, the shops, and the entertainment and what remains is the foundational reason for a casino’s existence—getting people to come and leave their money behind, lured by the slim chance they might walk away with a fatter wallet. Those who build and operate the(...)

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Picking winners and losers

Picking winners and losers

For state government, it’s tough to say no

IN THIS ISSUE OF CommonWealth, we by happenstance ended up with three features that take an in-depth look at three forms of government intervention in the state economy. All of them are well-meaning and designed to create jobs and spur the state’s economy to greater heights. But the stories also demonstrate the limitations of government(...)

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Lawmakers rush overdue budget to Baker

Lawmakers rush overdue budget to Baker

House satisfied with spending bill; Senate calls it “painful”

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE LARGELY DISCARDING SPENDING plans they approved in the spring, the House and Senate on Friday sent Gov. Charlie Baker a $40.2 billion state budget that holds state spending flat, includes higher employer health care assessments, and, according to some Democrats, underscores the need for higher taxes and new revenues. The bill(...)

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Dempsey pitches higher pot tax

Dempsey pitches higher pot tax

Says lower rate means less money for treatment, beds

THE HOUSE’S TOP BUDGET OFFICIAL on Friday made a pitch for a higher tax rate on recreational marijuana during a press conference unveiling the Legislature’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal. Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the 28 percent tax rate proposed in the House pot bill(...)

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Lawmakers signal budget accord reached

Lawmakers signal budget accord reached

No details provided but a vote is planned for Friday

THE LEAD BUDGET NEGOTIATORS for the House and Senate announced a deal Thursday evening to resolve differences between the branches over an annual state budget for the fiscal year that began Saturday, indicating that the legislation will be filed Friday morning with a vote coming later in the day. No further details on the spending(...)

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