Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee, Massachusetts, sells marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

When Governor Ned Lamont, as expected, signs a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Connecticut, the retail tax rate would be at the high end for states in the Northeast.

Rick Sullivan, president of the Western Mass Economic Development Council.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

The head of an economic development agency in western Massachusetts says the so-called "Fair Share Amendment" could hurt the region.

Wednesday afternoon Massachusetts House and Senate legislators voted 159-41 to let voters decide in 2022 whether to allow a 4 percent surtax on annual household incomes greater than $1 million. According to The Boston Globe, this will be the seventh time since the 1960’s that similar proposed laws have been on the ballot. Each time before, it’s been struck down. So what will make the seventh attempt different?

Massachusetts Voters Will Decide Whether to Change Constitution, Allow Income Surtax

Jun 9, 2021
The Massachusetts Statehouse.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Updated at 3:04 p.m.

The Massachusetts House and Senate, meeting jointly in a Constitutional Convention, voted 159-41 Wednesday to let voters decide on the 2022 statewide ballot whether to impose a new 4% surtax on annual household income over $1 million.

Massachusetts Income Surtax Opponents Challenge Revenue Estimates

Jun 8, 2021
Creative Commons / Ken Teegardin /

A day before Massachusetts lawmakers plan to vote on whether to put a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to raise taxes on the wealthy, opponents are challenging the revenue assertions by Democratic leaders.

Transportation Emissions Plan Down To 3 Members After Conn. Walks Away From Pact

Jun 8, 2021

The regional effort to reduce vehicle emissions along the East Coast that advanced in December with just four of 13 interested jurisdictions agreeing to take part appears to have dwindled, at least for the time being, to include just Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. as active participants.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

Transportation and education priorities in Massachusetts could get a step closer to reaping $2 billion a year with a vote this week.

Nearing A Budget Deal, Lamont, Democratic Leaders Compromise On Taxes

Jun 3, 2021

While state officials continued to creep closer to a budget deal, another key piece appeared to fall into place Wednesday: a state income tax cut for middle class families — but not until 2024.

The package also includes relief for Connecticut’s struggling restaurants, but much less than was originally proposed. Meanwhile, tax increases on wealthy households and a new digital media levy are out.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue logo.
File photo / The Republican /

This week we learned that Massachusetts tax collections have again exceeded the state's expectations. Does that mean that — despite the pandemic — the state's finances are actually somewhat healthy?

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has received mixed reviews from state lawmakers over his $46 billion two-year state budget proposal. The package includes the legalization of pot and a truck-only highway fee. The budget is balanced by relying on federal aid and the state’s rainy day fund.

Lamont Leans Heavily On Federal Aid To Keep Taxes Flat In Connecticut

Feb 11, 2021

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a two-year, $46 billion budget Wednesday that relies on federal funding and state reserves to close a major deficit without significant tax hikes while bolstering aid for municipalities and school districts.

But the package also leaves Connecticut with several budget challenges to be resolved in the not-so-distant future.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and state lawmakers would have enough revenue to balance the state’s next budget without raising taxes.

Views from the summit of Mt. Holyoke at Skinner State Park in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The Massachusetts state auditor's office has issued a report on the program that compensates cities and towns with state-owned land that is not subject to property tax.

A socially distanced polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on the primary election September 1, 2020.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

For the first time in more than three decades, the 7th Hampden District seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives is up for grabs.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a package last week aimed at boosting the state's economy. The $775 million package is aimed at helping out small businesses and bolster workforce development programs. 

The state of New Hampshire announced Friday it will file a federal lawsuit against Massachusetts over its cross-border income tax collection policies during the pandemic.

The lawsuit centers on a Massachusetts emergency provision that caps how much income out-of-state residents who work for Massachusetts-based companies can deduct on their income taxes while working remotely. 

A preliminary analysis of the health impacts of the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) found that the plan that would reduce greenhouse gases the most would also yield the biggest health benefits, helping to avoid about 1,100 deaths and nearly 5,000 asthma cases, and saving $11.1 billion in heath costs in the decade after the initiative kicks in.

The new president of MGM Springfield, Chris Kelley, helps unloading the food the casino donated to Open Pantry after regulators ordered the resort closed.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

As expected, casino revenue plunged in Massachusetts in March, according to the latest report from state gambling regulators.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states working on a regional compact to reduce vehicle emissions are still hoping to produce a final memorandum of understanding before summer, despite the pandemic shutdown. 

Meanwhile, plunging gas prices and the economic fallout from the coronavirus have put the partnership’s political odds and projected impact in flux.

Bags that carry ballots to polling places in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Northampton, Massachusetts, officials have decided not to redo the city’s override vote, despite a ballot shortage in one precinct.

Outside a Massachusetts polling place.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

As Massachusetts voters weigh in on the presidential race, some will also be voting in special elections for the state legislature. 

Traffic flows on 1-91 southbound in Hartford in December 2019.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has said he’s dropping a plan to toll trucks on highways. The plan continued to face obstacles in the legislature.

Massachusetts Casino Betting Bounces Back Post-Holidays

Feb 18, 2020
Casino gambling chips.
Jamie Adams / Creative Commons /

Revenue at the three Massachusetts casinos reverted closer to average levels in January, with Encore Boston Harbor coming down from its record high revenue in December, and both MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino rebounding from record low revenues that closed out 2019.

In Massachusetts, performing arts centers like the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, and Tanglewood in Lenox are among the types of non-profit venues that could apply for "mitigation" funds through casino tax revenue.
Jasperdo / Creative Commons /

Some nonprofit arts venues in Massachusetts could get money from the state if they can demonstrate their bottom lines have been hurt by casino entertainment.

It now appears there will be no special session on truck tolls ahead of the regular General Assembly session that starts Wednesday.  

Democrats had been planning for a truck tolls vote Monday or Tuesday.

Democratic Connecticut state lawmakers have released details of Governor Ned Lamont’s truck-only highway toll bill. Republicans warn it could open the door to car tolls in the future. 

No Hearing On Truck Tolls Or CT2030 Before Next Week

Jan 22, 2020

House and Senate Democratic leaders said they hope to finalize a tractor trailer tolls bill at a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont, then schedule a public hearing for next week on Lamont’s 10-year, $19 billion infrastructure plan.

The leaders originally said they planned to make the legislation public Tuesday, but they expect some revisions after the meeting, meaning the bill’s public release is unlikely before Wednesday.

Since 2003 Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund has been shored up by diverting $3.7 billion from the state’s General Fund. That’s the finding of an analysis just released by Governor Ned Lamont’s budget office.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivering a State of the Commonwealth address on Jan. 23, 2018.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lifts the curtain on his budget plan this week. Some tough decisions are expected this time around, with a slowdown in the forecast for tax revenues and big spending on pensions and schools.

Recreational Marijuana Sales Help Pittsfield Save For Rainy Day

Jan 10, 2020
Marijuana at Temescal Wellness in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Aviva Luttrell / MassLive /

Recreational marijuana sales have been a boon to Pittsfield's ability to stash money away in case of an emergency or downturn, a strategy that a Massachusetts official said Thursday could be useful in other communities.