Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The state's Restaurant and Business Alliance said there was "no sign of opposition" at a hearing this week.
The Joint Committee on Revenue in the Massachusetts legislature held a hearing this week on the notion of a potential meals tax holiday for August and one supporting group liking its chances. According to the state's Restaurant and Business Alliance (R.A.B.A), the hearing held Tuesday for the Meals Tax Holiday Bill saw "no sign of opposition" to the measure. Twelve legislators have signed on to the bill primarily sponsored by Rep. Keiko Orrall of Lakeville and Sen. Michael O. Moore of Millbury. If passed, the legislation would go into effect from Sunday, Aug. 11 through Thursday, Aug. 15. "We should offer a Meals Tax Holiday to benefit employees and small local business owners inside Massachusetts to help stimulate the economy," said Dave …
Sunday, April 14, 2013
A look back at what happened over the past week in the U.S. Senate race.
Just a little more than two weeks until the primary election to see which Democrat and Republican will go head to head to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by John Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State. Monday night, U.S. Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) and Edward Markey (D-Malden) met in their second debate which contained few fireworks. The debate, held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and sponsored by the college and the Boston Herald, lasted about 45 minutes and touched a wide variety of issues on which the two Democrats mostly agreed. On Wednesday night, it was the Republicans’ turn as they went face to face in the WBZ-TV studios moderated by the station’s Jon Keller. Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan…
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2014 would raise $1.9 billion in new revenues through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. Is the state's economy ready for this?
After years of treading water in the state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick has put forth an ambitious $34.8 billion proposal for the coming fiscal year that would make significant investments in education and transportation by raising $1.9 billion in revenue, through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. The question: Is the state's economy ready for this? To raise that funding, Patrick's proposal would increase the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling personal exemptions. It'd also lower the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Several tax breaks for both personal income and businesses would be eliminated. The gas tax would be indexed to inflation, ensuring gradual increases in what …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would tighten gun control laws in Massachusetts while increasing funding for mental health services and enhance background checks. Is this sensible, or reactionary?
Are new proposed laws regarding guns in Massachusetts and mental health services sensible and pragmatic steps, or reactionary measures that won't increase safety? Gov. Deval Patrick introduced new legislation Wednesday along those lines in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, CT. "I am encouraged by the palpable consensus in our Legislature that the time for action is now. All of us must pull in the same direction to bring about real change in this state and across the country," Patrick said in a press release. The bill would require gun purchasers to undergo background checks at gun shows, reduce access to high-powered rounds of ammunition, and limit licensed individuals to purchasing a maximum of one gun per month. Punishments …
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Massachusetts has some old, sometimes funny morality laws about cursing and other no-nos. But sometimes those laws play havoc with modern-day living. Is it time to clear the books?
Massachusetts is famous for its out-of-date laws. The Boston Globe cites a few, like a cursing ban at sporting events. But there are other laws, passed over 100 years ago, which could complicate present-day political and legal dilemmas. But these old laws sometimes have a major effect on modern day issues. Representative Byron Rushing, D-South End, reminded the Globe that Governor Mitt Romney used a 1913 law about residency rules to prevent out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts. That old law was scrubbed from the books in 2008, five years after it was cited by Romney. The 19th-century anti-abortion laws are a particularly thorny issue, according to the Globe. They may be relics of a time past, but that didn't stop the …
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The bill eases portions of the so-called "fiscal cliff."
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a deal late Tuesday to ease portions of the so-called "fiscal cliff," according to the Huffington Post. How did our local representatives in Congress vote? Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, supported the measure. The compromise was approved by the Senate at 2 a.m. Tuesday, and despite talk of rejecting it, the House ultimately passed the bill by a vote of 257 to 167. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry both supported the measure in the Senate. "Just voted for the fiscal cliff bill," Brown said on his Facebook Page at 1:55 a.m on New Year's Day. "Not the full answer but a small step forward. A lot of work next session. Good luck."
Monday, December 10, 2012
A Massachusetts gun owners group is lobbying for passage of a bill that would confer lifetime gun licenses.
Way too much red tape. That's the complaint of the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts, a group that is urging passage of a law that would abolish the requirement of having to renew a gun permit every six years, according to the Boston Herald. For comparison, Massachusetts vehicle drivers' licenses need to be renewed every five years. But the league says local police cannot keep up with timely gun permit renewals, and legitimate gunowners go license-less until the cops get time to do the paperwork. The law now allows 40 days for turning around license applications. In Boston, almost 1,000 people have applied for gun permits so far this year, with waits running about 10 weeks, the Herald quotes police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca as …
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Hey big spender, do you have plans for throwing down wads of cash this weekend? Or are you giving your wallet a break?
Break out the credit card: On Tuesday, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that designates Aug. 11 and 12 as a sales tax holiday, meaning you won't have to pay the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. Of course, there are some conditions. The tax holiday doesn't include meals, tobacco or single items that cost $2,500 or more. (So much for my big plan to buy a Bugatti Veyron made of charcuterie and Camel Lights.) The tax holiday is intended to send hordes of shoppers to stores, where they'll purchase lots of things and help boost revenues for local businesses. Some consumers wait for the tax holiday to buy big-ticket items they've been planning to get anyway. If you buy something that costs $2,500, you'll save $156.25. So, are you planning to take…