Mariano: What happens if Trump gets impeached?

In my opinion, Donald Trump is a terrible president, a national embarrassment and an international laughingstock. But should he be impeached?

Sina-cism: What if Trump is right about something?

I realize some of you would prefer to simply dismiss everything Trump does, says, or believes as wrong, simply because he did, said or believed it.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

It has been three months since Donald Trump occupied the White House, and I can’t decide which has been more amusing: Watching the administration learn as it goes, or watching the left demonize its every move.

To be sure, our nation’s forty-fifth president is often less than presidential. Botched immigration orders and tweets worthy of junior high school come to mind.

But Trump’s resolve to stand up to the Assad regime in Syria and Vladimir Putin’s heinous role there could mark a refreshing change from the Obama years — provided Trump follows tough talk with clear goals and coherent strategy.

And Neil Gorsuch was a superb choice for the Supreme Court — with a brilliant legal mind, personal grace, and a nonpartisan attitude the nation needs.

Usually, however, things aren’t so clear. That is the case when it comes to H-1B visas.

Worcester Sun, April 23-29: Mariano and Sinacola double up on Trump, Melifonwu takes aim at NFL dream + much more

Local blogger and urban planning expert Joyce Mandell’s five-point plan to invigorate Worcester’s Renaissance. Worcester Police on the run for city kids. And a whole lot more in your April 23-29 Worcester Sun.

On Beacon Hill: In Baker the House trusts?

Recap and analysis of the week in state, and federal, government
from State House News Service

BOSTON — House Speaker Robert DeLeo sent Gov. Charlie Baker a clear, if not slightly unconventional, message this week about the state’s ballooning Medicaid program and the governor’s somewhat unpopular plan to tax employers to pay for it:

You want it? You own it.

The $40.3 billion House budget plan released this week by Rep. Brian Dempsey and his Ways and Means Committee essentially punted the issue of an employer assessment to help pay for MassHealth back to the Republican administration.

The draft budget greenlights the Department of Revenue and its commissioner, former Republican state treasurer candidate Michael Heffernan, to develop and implement an assessment on employers that don’t provide health coverage to most of their employees at any level it deems fit.

Dempsey did say the state only needs about two-thirds, or $180 million, of the money originally targeted by Baker from his $2,000-per-worker assessment, but there’s nothing to stop Baker from going for the whole pie. The only stipulation from House leaders is that the administration consider some of the critiques made by businesses over the past few months.

Sam Doran / State House News Service

House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey.

That’s not to say the plan absolves House Democrats who vote for the budget of any responsibility should the debate over the assessment turn sour. Those who vote for this budget will, in essence, be writing Gov. Baker a blank check and accepting anything that comes after.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s overtly diplomatic response also seemed to belie some apprehension with the House approach of deferring to Baker. “Everyone approaches things in their own way,” he said.

Dempsey said he believes the administration has been talking in good faith with the business community about how to refine the proposal, and is confident that a compromise can be found.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Hundreds of amendments cloud early budget outlook
  • Legislative Trump panel targets immigration, inmate bills
  • Moore trumpets campus safety; McGovern tweaks president
  • State senators plans Capitol Hill lobbying effort
  • Video: Polito talks revenue projections, potential cuts
  • MassDevelopment chief voted out by board

Worcester Sun, April 16-22: Mariano on A Better Life, Sunday conversation with Cliff Rucker, Mount Carmel crystal ball + much more

Worcester Sun is the proud media partner of Jane Week in Worcester — find out what that even means, and peruse a calendar of events. Plus lots of other good stuff, too, in your April 16-22 Worcester Sun.

On Beacon Hill: Taxing routines trump legislative progress

Recap and analysis of the week in state, and federal, government
from State House News Service

BOSTON — President Donald J. Trump and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg may finally have a common interest: tax reform.

While that may be the point where their shared agendas start to diverge, the topic that Beacon Hill leaders largely like to avoid may soon become something they can’t escape.

The federal debate over tax reform appears headed toward a package of tax cuts, while Massachusetts voters will almost certainly be asked to decide in 2018 whether households should pay a surtax on incomes over $1 million to generate additional revenue for state government.

Enter Rosenberg, who in a speech to the Greater Boston business leaders last week pleaded with the community not to embrace the Retailers Association of Massachusetts’s pitch for a sales tax cut as he took a stab at explaining a conundrum that has vexed budget writers for years now.

State House News Service file

Senate President Stan Rosenberg

The strength of the state economy, including low unemployment, has done little to stabilize state finances or generate the tax revenue growth necessary for Democratic leaders to comfortably invest in education, rail expansions and other projects on their wish lists.

March brought another round of collections that missed benchmarks, and the state now trails revenue projections for the year by $220 million with just three months left in the fiscal year.

Rosenberg suggested that a tax system reliant on income gains and taxes on the sales of goods has failed to capture the nature of the new service-based economy.

“The bill is finally coming due,” he warned, calling the state’s tax structure “regressive.”

The Amherst Democrat suggested it was “certainly worth looking at” a revival of the sales tax on business and professional services passed under Gov. Michael Dukakis and repealed by Gov. William Weld.

But even if that’s just one suggestion, Rosenberg raised an interesting question and one that might not soon go away. True tax reform has not been attempted since Gov. Deval Patrick, late in his second term, put a package on the table that would have raised the income tax, lowered the sales tax and eliminated a variety of exemptions, but it barely got a look by skeptical legislators.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo recognized the need for revenue in 2013, but opted for increases in gas and cigarette taxes that haven’t produced the revenue jolt that DeLeo’s 2009 sales tax hike did.

Gov. Charlie Baker may not be champing at the bit to entertain straight tax hikes, but the possibility of a more comprehensive tax revamp is exactly the reason he refused to take a no-new-taxes pledge in 2014 when he was running for governor, and may be the opening Democrats need to start the debate, if not for now then perhaps the years to come.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Infrastructure spending hits detour in Legislature
  • Video: State House chamber becomes Patriots’ place
  • Corporate campaign donations run into judicial roadblock
  • McGovern on Trump; Moore on student leaders
  • Longtime congressman earns Roosevelt award
  • Smoking age debate simmers in House

State’s highest court hears arguments for and against ICE immigration detainers

BOSTON — State law enforcement officials have the “inherent” authority to arrest and hold immigrants scheduled for deportation, a Department of Justice attorney argued in court on Tuesday.

The Supreme Judicial Court has called into question a tool federal immigration authorities use to gain custody of immigrants in the country illegally: requests for state law enforcement to hold someone for federal authorities without a judicially approved warrant.

The case of Commonwealth v. Sreynuon Lunn is moot for the defendant who was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but it could have broad implications politically and policy-wise as the nation wrestles with heightened efforts to enforce immigration laws.

On Beacon Hill: Snow and ICE as Baker springs into D.C. spotlight

Recap and analysis of the week in state, and federal, government
from State House News Service

When will it be safe to go outside again?

There are plenty of good reasons to stay inside and lock the front door, and an early-spring snowstorm is not the worst excuse to pull the blinds and wait for warmer days.

But state Rep. Michelle DuBois was not worried about her constituents driving on unsafe roads last week when she suggested they might want to hunker down in their living rooms and wait for the ICE storm to pass.

DuBois, a Brockton Democrat, caused an uproar when she used Facebook to alert her community to a possible Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid targeting undocumented immigrants. The internet siren came a day after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said cities would have to prove their compliance with immigration requests to qualify for federal Justice Department grants and funding opportunities.

DuBois, a second-term lawmaker, acknowledged that the raids were just a rumor at the time, and there’s no evidence to suggest it happened. But she thought the public deserved to be aware of the possibility.

“Please be careful on Wednesday [March] 29. ICE will be in Brockton on that day. If you are undocumented don’t go out on the street. If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don’t know who it is, don’t open the door,” she posted, quoting information she said she received from a “friend in the Latin community.”

That such a step taken by an elected official, who is sworn to uphold the law, would turn a few heads is to be expected. But Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson poured gas on the fire when he mentioned the Facebook post in testimony to Congress, during which he also said elected officials in so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration police should be arrested.

Hodgson is no stranger to controversy or media attention, but in many respects this was a coming-out party for DuBois, and it didn’t take long before her story was the talk of Fox News.

DuBois apologized for nothing and said she’d do it again if given the chance, suggesting she may have actually done ICE a favor by telling the agency members, if they were planning a raid, that the word was already on the street.

That argument, however, didn’t wash with Hodgson, who told Congress Dubois had undermined law enforcement and called on her to step down from office.

— Matt Murphy

State House News Service / Courtesy Governor's Office

Gov. Charlie Baker, shown here swearing in Supreme Judicial Court associate justice Elspeth Cypher, was named to a federal panel on opioid abuse.

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • With Trump opioid panel, Baker takes spot on national stage
  • Legislature to raise its pace after slow start
  • State to cover AP exam cost for low-income students
  • Video: Yukking it up at MassBio conference
  • GE, MassRobotics team up to boost industry
Billy Breault

Worcester Sun, April 2-8: Mariano introduces Worcester Warriors, teachers union wins PCB ruling, getting ‘Mugged in Worcester’ + more

New in the Sun! | Worcester Warriors
Mariano: The man nobody wants but every neighborhood needs |  “He is loud and brash. His hair is long and unruly and he wears a giant mustache that looks like a battering ram . . .

Last week’s most popular, March 19-25

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles March 19-25

Mariano: The problem of PCBs at Burncoat and Doherty high schools could be worse than I thought [March 19]
Mariano: Shame on the mayor, superintendent and School Committee! [March 8]
Filmmakers hope to whip up fundraising frenzy for Major Taylor biopic ‘Black Cyclone’ [March 22]
Editorial: Crime stats show Worcester becoming safer in long run [March 22]
Requiem for Dissent: McGovern-ing in the era of Trump [March 19]