June 2015
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Month June 2015

Tweet of the Day: Boston 2024

There's like 5 people who want the Olympics in Boston and they're all getting paid. — Fresh New England (@freshnewengland) July 1, 2015

Family and guardian rights bill gathering momentum

(Cross-posted from The COFAR Blog) After years of being stalled in the state Legislature, a bill that would boost the guardianship rights of family members of the developmentally disabled appears to have a chance of passage. The bill (H. 1459), which was given a hearing last week by the Judiciary Committee, states that probate court judges should presume a spouse or parent is the proper person to be the guardian of an incapacitated person. The Committee also heard testimony in support of a related bill (H. 1469), which would prohibit state or other authorities from charging a parent or legal guardian with abuse or neglect, based on the type of medical care the parent or guardian has chosen for an individual in their care. While we are primarily concerned with legislation that affects people with developmental disabilities, both bills are about the rights of families to make decisions regarding the care of their loved ones. In a number of cases, family members have been overruled in their decision-making regarding loved ones, and, in some cases, have been removed from virtually all contact with them by state or clinical authorities. Passage of the medical decision bill, dubbed “Justina’s Law,” is being sought by the family of Justina Pelletier, a teenager who […]

Supreme Court: The Spirit of Massachusetts *IS* the Spirit of America

Both the Supreme Court’s decisions to approve ObamaCare tax credits and the rejection of state laws banning same-sex marriage take ideas that were first implemented in Massachusetts and make it national law. So now it’s official: The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America: (Context below:) The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America (commercial) The Spirit of Massachusetts is the Spirit of America (Family Guy)

How New Federal Revenue Affects State Spending Trends

As part of our ongoing analysis of the state budget, we at MassBudget recently released a factsheet on how implementation of the Affordable Care Act affects the state’s fiscal condition (available HERE). Most significantly, the law provides substantial new federal revenue to the state. It actually provides more in federal revenue than the net state costs of implementing provisions of that law. This is good for the state’s overall fiscal health, but complicates any analysis of state budget trends. As has frequently been noted, the overall state budget was growing by more than 6% between 2014 and 2015, before budget cuts in February. That appears to be – and in most circumstances would be – an unsustainable rate of growth. New Federal Revenue Affects State Spending Trends finds, however, that overall state own source spending grew only 4%–about the same rate as our overall economy. The difference between this 4% figure and the commonly cited figures over 6% was new federal money that flowed through our state budget to provide health care coverage for people covered by the Affordable Care Act. This was a one-time increase to a new level of federal reimbursement (which will largely be sustained), that does […]

Contrary to Predictions Market Basket is Thriving

A very illuminating article on the one year anniversary of the worker walkout that saved a landmark local company and thousands of well paying jobs with good benefits and generous profit sharing. Contrary to same nameless naysayers, the shelves are stocked and the sky didn’t fall. Despite losing nearly half a million in lost sales, last year was still it’s most profitable on record. The company is on track to record total revenues of about $4.8 billion in 2015, top executives say, the most in its nearly 100-year history. It is also in expansion mode, opening five new stores in the last year, some with upscale accents such as massive gourmet cheese islands, expanded organic food offerings, and outdoor cafe seating. Two new stores are under construction in Plymouth, Mass., and Rochester, N.H. What about all that debt the nameless naysayer was worried about? Analysts at the time predicted the debt burden would force Market Basket to either back away from its discount pricing model or curtail its unusually generous profit-sharing plan for employees. ‘Our business model is completely intact, and we’re running the shop with a lot less distractions.’ But so far, executives say, neither has happened. More than […]

Joke Revue: Jeb Bush Surprised How Easily Stance On Confederate Flag Set Him Apart From Other Republican Candidates

And don’t miss the weatherperson profiled by Professor Oliver in his review below, along with his adroit reference to Boston (Go Bruins!). Onion: Jeb Bush Surprised How Easily Stance On Confederate Flag Set Him Apart From Other Republican Candidates TALLAHASSEE, FL—Expressing satisfaction with the unexpected bump in his polling numbers, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush confirmed Monday that he was astonished by how easily his stance on removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol set him apart from the rest of the GOP field. “When I tweeted in support of taking down a widely recognized symbol of racism and white supremacy, I thought I’d fall pretty squarely in line with the other Republican candidates, but fortunately I was wrong,” said Bush after competitors in the GOP primary race either refused to voice an opinion to avoid offending voters or suggested that the decision should fall to the state’s lawmakers, establishing himself as the most sane member of the field “with pretty much zero effort.” “All I had to do was offer a basic sentiment about how they should take down a flag widely considered to represent slavery and horrific racial oppression, and boom—suddenly I’m the only enlightened one […]

RIP State Senator Thomas Kennedy

The Boston Globe is reporting that State Senator Thomas Kennedy (not THAT Kennedy family if anyone were wondering) has passed away due to health complications.  His district is anchored by his home city of Brockton and includes other towns in northern Plymouth County.  He held several chairman- and vice-chairmanships.  He was at one point studying to become a priest and had a disabling fall at age 19.  Thoughts and prayers with his family and I guess this starts the clock on a special election.

BBJ’s Bombshells, or What’s the Matter With Marty Walsh?

“what we know today is that Walsh has been far more invested in the city’s stretch for the Games than he initially let on, whether or not his team ever reviewed Olympics Bid 1.0 in its entirety.” –BBJ As a Western Massachusetts resident, I don’t know much about Boston politics. But it seems like every month there’s another example of Boston’s Mayor doing something democratically graceless, if not downright sleazy. There was an agreement with the Grand Prix committee loaded with his friends and former staffers. Now, based on a Freedom of Information request, the Boston Business Journal levels a number of charges: Mayor Marty Walsh and his staff confirmed to the Business Journal this week that City Hall never reviewed last winter’s formal bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston. That’s a problem. If what the city says is true, then Walsh volunteered Boston’s taxpayers to potentially back hundreds-of-millions of dollars in spending to support an Olympics plan that his team never vetted. It means the city signed off on a $25 million insurance policy that indemnifies Boston for Olympics cost overruns — again, without ever seeing what, specifically, they were indemnifying. It also means the mayor has not been […]

“All Hail to Massachusetts!”

That is the title of our official state song and I would submit good advice for all Americans this week.  Despite being a political scapegoat for everything the Right, including a certain former GOP Governor trying to win presidential primary votes, finds wrong with the country (except when they misappropriate tea party imagery and rhetoric), the legacy of our fair Commonwealth was solidified by my count in three ways this week. The Confederate flag, to many a symbol of slavery and the wrong side of the Civil War, was removed, or proposed to be, from many public and private venues this week.  Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery and the first state to send troops and to take fire in the Civil War.  We also provided the famous 54th Colored Regiment whose exploits are depicted in the movie “Glory”.  (Side note: President Obama’s eulogy of Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney is worth a watch; toward the end he sings Amazing Grace quite well.) SCOTUS once again upheld “Obamacare” probably securing its legal legitimacy once and for all.  As you know this law is based largely on one promulgated in Massachusetts and signed by the aforementioned GOP Governor who went […]

Fox News On June 26th, 2015, Oh How Odd It All Seems

One can only scratch one’s head when it comes to the incredulous nature of the Fox News Network. On a day as momentous, after a week as momentous as this, the O’Rielly Factor’s nightly feature is on global terror, completely ignoring today’s SCOTUS decision on same sex marriage. Is it any wonder why or how Media Matters found that those who watch Fox News are less informed than those who don’t follow the news regularly via any format? So much for mainstream conservative media.   Steven J. Gulitti   6/26/2015