Globe flip flops on film tax credit

The Boston Globe editorial page executed a Romneyesque flip-flop on the state’s film tax credit this week.

Five years ago, the Globe published a rousing editorial opposing a bid by then-Gov. Deval Patrick to cap outlays for the film tax credit. “There should be no question about the value of the film industry to Massachusetts,” the editorial said, noting that movies shot in the Bay State have the capacity to be good-will ambassadors for the state, attracting businesses, conventioneers, and tourists.

“The people of the Bay State are justly proud of their image,” the 2010 editorial said. “The film credit conveys that image to the world. It gives Boston, in particular, the world-class status it needs and deserves. The film credit has been a success and deserves to continue without a cap. It is plainly worth the money.”

But this week the Globe editorial page did an about-face. The newspaper cited some of the research on the film tax credit it ignored in 2010 and took the position that Boston’s emerging film image isn’t so attractive.

“A convincing case could be made that the credit has subsidized too many movies that tell an outdated story about Massachusetts,” the editorial said. “Hollywood loves Boston thugs, and has used taxpayer money to film The Town and the forthcoming Black Mass, among other crime flicks. The very image modern Massachusetts should be trying to shake off is the one producers seem intent on reinforcing for the rest of the world.”

One might say the Globe’s thinking on the film tax credit has evolved, just as House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s thinking evolved on the need for term limits for people in his position. But the truth is the Globe itself changed. In 2010, the editorial page was run by Peter Canellos and the paper was owned by the New York Times. Today the page is run by Ellen Clegg and the newspaper is owned by John Henry. New owner, new ideas.

–BRUCE MOHL

MARATHON TRIAL

Bill Richard, father of the youngest Marathon bombing victim, 8-year-old Martintook the stand yesterday in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and delivered heart-wrenching testimony about that horrific day. Lawyers explain the thinking behind the defense strategy of admitting Tsarnaev’s role in the bombings, while still pushing ahead with a trial rather than offering a guilty plea.

BEACON HILL

The Massachusetts House paid a Boston law firm $262,000 for work on ethics investigations involving members, CommonWealth reports.

Globe film critic Ty Burr takes a stab at state tax policy, offering a glowing review of the film tax credit that is long on heartstring-tugging anecdotes but short on data and analysis of the policy’s effect.

Shirley Leung says Gov. Charlie Baker may try to swap $1 billion in proposed spending on expansion of the Boston convention center and use that money to upgrade the MBTA.

Savings in Medicaid — some real and some creative bookkeeping — are key to the Baker administration’s effort to close a projected $1.8 billion budget gap.

Advocates for legislation allowing doctor-assisted suicide believe momentum is on their side, the Salem News reports.

Barbara Madeloni, the head of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, calls the Baker budget troubling.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Somerset officials are considering an unusual Proposition 2½ “underride” to lower the town’s tax levy limit because of a yawning gap created by years of multimillion dollar tax payments from the Brayton Point power plant which will soon close.

The Marshfield Board of Selectmen placed the town’s fire chief on administrative leave for undisclosed “personal reasons.”

CASINOS

Former NBA commissioner Donald Stern, whose son owns the development company seeking to build a waterfront casino in New Bedford, told theStandard-Times the project is all but dead after determining there wasn’t “any reasonable hope of making a deal” with Mayor Jon Mitchell. Stern’s dire declaration comes just a day after Foxwoods signed a letter of intent to partner with KG Urban Enterprises to operate the resort casino.

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

It turns out Hillary Clinton‘s practice of using a private email account to conduct business while holding a public office is not all that uncommon. Just ask jeb@jeb.org.

Sheriffs in Colorado and surrounding states file a constitutional challenge to Colorado’s marijuana law, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Conservative state lawmakers around the country, anxious that the Supreme Court will legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, are introducing measures to allow businesses to refuse to serve gay couples based on religious mores.

ELECTIONS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh‘s dive into this week’s special election for state rep in East Boston did not go well, as the candidate he put his organization’s muscle behind lost.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Federal Reserve says the nation’s largest banks passed a stress test designed to determine if they can withstand a catastrophic event like the Great Recession in 2008.

EDUCATION

Students in Winthrop, Tewksbury, Woburn, and Manchester, New Hampshire, discuss suicide pact on social media, the Associated Press reports.

Wellesley College says it will admit transgender women, WBUR reports.

Gloucester school officials plan to seek a $1.7 million budget hike, the Gloucester Times reports.

HEALTH CARE

Holy Family Hospital’s cancer center will be getting upgrades after the Methuen facility affiliates with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Republicans in Congress are drawing up alternatives to the Affordable Care Act to send a signal to the Supreme Court that there is a fall-back plan should they vote to kill Obamacare. The conservative American Spectator says supporters of Obamacare are grasping at straws if they think Justice Anthony Kennedy will ride to their rescue based on a comment he made during oral arguments.

TRANSPORTATION

A Boston Herald editorial says the MBTA should offer at least partial refunds to passholders who were shorted on rides because of the system’s weather-related collapses. Meanwhile, riders urged continuation of the T’s late-night service in a hearing at Boston City Hall.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Shaun Harrison, a Boston minister who claimed to counsel kids away from gangs and also served on the staff at English High School was arrested and charged with shooting a 17-year-old who was allegedly selling marijuana as part of a drug operation the reverend was running. Peter Gelzinis says this of the apparent preacher-teacher turned thug: “He seems like one multi-faceted guy.”

Overlooked in the Justice Department’s damning report on systemic racial bias in the Ferguson, Missouri, police department is the finding that the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative of Michael Brown‘s death was likely not true.

MEDIA

Jim Braude goes on the “hot seat” on Greater Boston to talk about his taking over as the show’s host on Monday, promising his first show will feature a lineup of political heavyweights “who have never before appeared together.”