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Baker’s next act on film tax credits, Trump takes on trade, more

Governor Charlie Baker in his office at the State House.
Governor Charlie Baker in his office at the State House. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff)

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Chesto means business

Awaiting Baker’s next act on film tax credits: It’s budget time again, and local film industry types are worried. They may have a good reason to be. Governor Charlie Baker tried to kill the state’s generous film tax credits outright in his first month in office, in 2015. Then, a year ago, he attempted to dramatically pare them back. But the industry’s champions in the Legislature, led by House Speaker Bob DeLeo, would have none of it.


Baker files his third budget proposal this week, and the governor’s people aren’t saying whether he’ll tackle film tax credits again. Regardless, the Massachusetts Production Coalition is bracing for an attack.

The trade group sent a letter last week to state lawmakers, boasting of the tax credits’ economic boost. The MPC also warned that efforts to land the industry’s Holy Grail — a scripted TV series — are hampered by the recurring attempts to limit the incentives.

The total price tag to the state varies by year. Eligible productions generated $64.5 million in tax credits in 2014, according to a new Department of Revenue report, while the program’s positive impact that year included nearly $116 million in industry spending for Massachusetts residents and businesses.

That’s not enough to quell the critics who think too much public money is spent on this. At a time when the state faces another budget deficit, they would say, every dollar counts.

Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

Market wrap

Executive Summary

No presidential honeymoon: It’s Donald Trump’s first full business day as president and already he is facing a lawsuit claiming that his decision not to divest from his business empire violates the US Constitution.


The suit filed Monday alleges Trump is violating the emoluments clause, which prohibits a US leader from accepting payments from foreign governments. The suit specifically points to foreign governments either leasing office space or staying in Trump hotel rooms. Trump’s attorney has said there is no conflict of interest and no reason for him to divest from his businesses, which will be run by his two sons.

Also on Monday, Trump kept good on one of his campaign promises by signing an executive order withdrawing the US from a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The new president also renewed his pledge to impose a border tax on companies that move operations outside the US, and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

New boss, new approach: The investment firm of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo Co. is expected to take a new approach as CEO Scott Hayward takes the helm, the Globe’s Beth Healy writes.

The Boston firm had been known for its emphasis on value investments, but Hayward’s hiring “may indicate that GMO will put more emphasis on quantitative investment strategies,” relying on algorithms and computer models. Hayward joins the firm from Quantitative Management Associates of Newark.

GMO has also signaled that it will launch investment strategies aimed at climate change, seeing global warming as “the most important investment issue for the foreseeable future.”


Heads in the clouds: Boston startup Turbonomic, which develops cloud management software, received an infusion of $50 million from investors, according to reports by Xconomy Boston and BostInno.

The funding was led by General Atlantic, but investors also included Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Globespan Capital Partners, and Iconiq Capital.

The money comes on top of $50 million Turbonomic raised two years ago, with much of that still in the bank, the company’s chief executive Bill Veghte told Forbes.

Trending pick

Judge diagnoses a problem: Reports that a federal judge has blocked plans by Aetna Inc. to take over another health care giant, Humana, is getting clicks for the New York Times, Reuters, and the Washington Post. The $37 billion sale would hurt consumers by eliminating competition, according to the judge.

Line Items

It’s a rap for Jay Z:

Sells stake in Tidal to Sprint -- Financial Times

Big gains, then losses:

Weight Watchers on roller coaster ride -- Yahoo Finance

Millennials on the move?:

Getting out their parents’ basements -- Business Insider

Hunger for breakfast over:

McDonald’s all-day breakfast sales falter -- Quartz


Money talks: A company in Quincy has found that boosting pay can improve morale and, ultimately, the bottom line.

In today’s Globe, reporter Katie Johnston writes that PharmaLogics Recruiting CEO Megan Driscoll got the idea attending a talk by Dan Price, the chief executive of a Seattle credit card company. Price had boosted the pay of his employees to a minimum of $70,000 per year.


Driscoll hasn’t gone that far, but she did increase base salaries to $50,000, and her employees still have the ability to earn commissions on top of that. Employees also have the benefit of a trainer to teach them yoga, fresh vegetables are served once a week, and there is coconut water in the company fridge.

”It just gave me license to be a little bit unchained in my management style,” Driscoll says of Price’s inspiration.

Sounds like a healthy dose of perspective.

The Talking Points newsletter is compiled by George Brennan. Follow George on Twitter at @gpb227 If you liked what you've read, please tell your friends to sign up