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Political Happy Hour with Joshua Miller

Tuesday, December 01, 2015
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Here’s your afternoon goblet of politics from David Scharfenberg, filling in for Joshua Miller, who must be getting bored with his New Zealand vacation by now, don’t you think?

GRONK’S OK, GRONK’S OK, GRONK’S OK, via Ben Volin of “The Patriots avoided a disaster on Monday when an MRI revealed that tight end Rob Gronkowski only suffered a minor knee strain in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos and will be out one to two games at most, a league source told the Globe.”

T MANAGEMENT SKEWERED, via Nicole Dungca of “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority employees were ill-equipped to oversee the massive Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford, should have foreseen its ballooning costs, and still don’t have an accurate cost estimate for the project, consultants told the state transportation board on Monday.

Hired by the MBTA to assess why costs for the long-delayed Green Line extension have increased so dramatically, the consultants painted a bleak picture of a process plagued by a litany of problems, including an excessive drive to finish the project according to a certain schedule.”

ROBIN HOOD, PART I, via Matt Murphy of State House News Service (behind pay wall): “Bay State millionaires could pay as much as $2.2 billion in additional state income taxes under a proposal to tax some of the state’s wealthiest individuals and families at a higher rate, a figure considerably higher than what proponents initially projected.

The tax on incomes above $1 million, which would require a series of steps to amend the state’s constitution and would not take effect, if approved, until at least 2019, has been pitched as both a way to address income inequality and generate new revenue for education and transportation.

The coalition behind the ballot campaign initially estimated that the higher income tax would fall on roughly 14,000 individuals and generate between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion.”

ROBIN HOOD, PART II, via Katie Lannan of State House News Service (also behind pay wall): “Less than three months after a law was signed expanding the state’s earned income tax credit for low-income families, Sen. President Stanley Rosenberg on Monday said he wants to see a second increase to deliver additional tax relief.

Gov. Charlie Baker originally proposed doubling the credit, and lawmakers settled on raising it by 50 percent.

‘We were able to get halfway in the first year,’ Rosenberg told WCAP 980 AM radio host Mara Dolan. ‘I’m hoping the House, the Senate and the governor can team up again and we can work on this and try to get that doubling people so need and deserve.’ ”

OBAMA’S MEA CULPA ON CLIMATE, via Gardiner Harris on “President Obama told world leaders who gathered northeast of Paris on Monday for a climate conference that the United States is at least partly to blame for the life-threatening damage that environmental change has wrought, and he urged world leaders to join him in fixing the problem.

‘I’ve come here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter,’ Mr. Obama said, ‘to say that the United States of America not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it.’ ”

THE HUNT BEGINS, via Astead W. Herndon of “More than 80 hunters armed with shotguns trekked into the Blue Hills Reservation early Monday morning to begin the first of four state-sanctioned days of deer hunting.

Joe Vella of Dedham arrived at 4 a.m., he said, dressed in hunting gear and wearing a reflective orange vest. Vella waited until about 6 a.m. to enter the reservation, throwing his gun over his shoulder before heading into the woods.

‘We’ve hunted for four or five generations in my family,’ Vella said. ...

Animal rights activists have protested the decision for months, and plan to hold an event that they are calling ‘a candlelight vigil’ for the slain deer on Monday, according to Helen Rayshick of the ad-hoc group Friends of Blue Hills Deer.”

WHITE HOUSE REACHES OUT TO BAKER, ALL OTHER GOVERNORS ON REFUGEES, via a letter sent to US governors by President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, and obtained by the Globe: “I am proposing establishing a new process through the [National Governors Association] for the U.S. Department of State to accept individualized requests from Governors for more regular access to refugee resettlement information.

Upon receipt of a Governor’s request, the State Department would compile a tailored report for the individual state submitting the request. The report would include information on refugees resettled during the prior month and fiscal year-to-date.”

HEALEY PUSHES TO CANCEL STUDENT LOANS FOR CORINTHIAN, via press release from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office: “Attorney General Maura Healey today submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Education requesting the immediate cancellation of loans taken out by former students of Corinthian Colleges in Massachusetts who were victimized by the for-profit school’s illegal conduct...

The application asks for a group discharge of all federal loans taken out by approximately 7,200 student borrowers who attended Corinthian’s Everest Institute campuses in Brighton and Chelsea between 2007 and when Corinthian closed its Everest campus operations over the last two years.”

STATE HOUSE FOODIE SIREN, via “Ever-expanding chickpea pioneer Clover will open its first Boston restaurant in Downtown Crossing’s former Boloco space, says owner Ayr Muir (27 School St. at Province Street). Muir hopes to open four Boston Clovers in 2016. The inaugural Boston branch will cater to downtown dwellers with an eventual grab-and-go fridge, he says, a new twist for the restaurant.”

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