November 30, 2016

Worcester Sun, Nov. 30: Randell [and us] on Petty’s tax panel plan, local senator arrested + more

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Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Former state Democratic Party chair Philip Johnston, left, and Republican Rep. Geoff Diehl, who supported President-elect Donald Trump, share different takes on the future of Affordable Care Act.

Harvard prof warns of Obamacare repeal, other Trump vengeance on Mass. |  “The big mistake would be because you’re in a state that has the history with this to believe that nothing could happen here,” said Robert Blendon, a Harvard health policy professor and pollster. The state’s expansive healthcare programs, pioneered as RomneyCare in 2006, rely greatly on federal funding, which could be in for serious cuts if Congress reopens the Affordable Care Act debate, as expected.


Sen. Jamie Eldridge

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Sen. Jamie Eldridge

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge arrested with dozens others amid higher-wage protest |  “I’m very proud of the brave workers for having the courage to stand up to billionaire corporations and to fight for what they deserve,” the Acton Democrat said in a statement. “Big corporations have been exploiting lower-wage workers for decades, forcing people to work long hours and tough schedules without receiving fair holiday or sick pay, and without receiving a living wage.”


Sun commentary

Bill Randell

Bill Randell

Randell: Cutting to the chase with Petty’s tax panel recommendations |  “My question is, rather than add a tax on Worcester-based car rental agencies, putting them at a competitive disadvantage with surrounding towns, why not cut wasteful spending? Stop the DCU Center subsidy. Why make the same mistake of creating a variable rate with car rentals as we did when we created a dual property tax rate in Worcester?” Bill Randell has a better idea for city taxpayers.


taxes_flickr

Editorial: Mayor’s Tax Policy Committee Report — Money grab or smart policy? |  The committee created by Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty in April 2015 released its report in early November. Among the 17 concepts for consideration are four new taxes or fees and an innovative and promising approach to growing the city’s tax base. Individual ideas aside, the central idea behind the proposal is one around which we feel the community can rally.


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Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 115]: A billion reasons to smile in Worcester? |  Sounds great, doesn’t it — like a big win for homeowners, businesses and municipal officials alike: $1 billion of added property value in the city! But, dig deeper and you’ll see why Mayor Petty and the City Council are skating victory laps around the Common: all that added value could sufficiently prop up the city’s tax levy so lawmakers concerned with re-election won’t have to consider a major hike to the residential tax rate. Excellent timing there, Mr. Augustus! But that fact alone couldn’t be behind the dramatic rise, right? Either way, Hitch has an idea about what might have caused the fortuitous result.


David P. Dwork

David P. Dwork

Inbox [Nov. 30]: Worcester trumpets top bond rating, Petty renews statewide gun buyback push, literacy group announces new leadership, Brain Injury Association elects board president |  Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about. Have a release or a photo you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.


New in Free to Read

What does WAFT do, anyway? An inside look at Worcester’s anti-foreclosure warriors: Part 2 — The team rallies around an Oak Street family

WAFT assembles to support Donna Berrios outside her Oak Street home.

Alex L. Khan / For Worcester Sun

WAFT assembles to support Donna Berrios outside her Oak Street home.

Neither Donna Berrios nor her husband have been inside their home since the eviction notice was issued five days before. Their son, A.J., not similarly barred by the sometimes ambiguous foreclosure laws, carries out a large textbook, and places it on the hood of the car. “I’m just glad that he got my bible out,” said Berrios, a cross hanging from her neck. She is smoking — something to ease the stress.

Meanwhile WAFT protesters assembled for support as group leader Grace Ross angles to keep Berrios in her Oak Street house. This is the second in a two-part report chronicling several days in the lives of the Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team and the people they try to help. Part 1 — Gaining traction and attention

Local Business Spotlight: Shrewsbury Street orders up The Usual

oct-5-usual-4

With a little help from Niche Hospitality, a husband-and-wife duo plan to put down roots in the heart of Restaurant Row with what they consider a fresh concept largely missing from Worcester’s already eclectic and wide-ranging food scene. What could be missing from the city’s seemingly endless bounty of culinary choices, and how will The Usual fill that void? Only one way to find out.

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