Five Things: Spilka Not Fooling Many, Lyons on Sad Remy Case, Welfare $ > than job and more…

Karen Spilka’s sudden conversion is being taken with grain of salt

The business community and media are taking Karen Spilka’s sudden conversion against the tech tax with a grain of salt. You may remember, Red Mass Group reported that Spilka voted six times for the software tax.

First up is a story by the new managing editor at the Boston Business Journal, Craig Douglass.

Modern politics being what they are, you’ve got to tip your cap to state senator and aspiring congresswoman Karen Spilka for nearly uttering the three little words that no other politician, even on their darkest day, will dare to say: I was wrong.

Of course, Spilka didn’t say those three little words either when we spoke over the phone Wednesday evening. But she came really, really close when talking about why she is now filing a bill to repeal the state’s über-controversial software and computer tax just weeks after she voted in favor of that very same tax. Gotta to love her moxie.

And the money passage.

But even while serving as the state senate’s Majority Whip – essentially third in command – and chairwoman of the chamber’s newly created technology caucus, Spilka said she and her fellow caucusians were more or less blindsided by the new levy’s broad language and potential to raise two-to-three times the $161 million in tax collections it was designed to generate. The tax’s original verbiage, included in Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget proposal last winter (“I must admit that I didn’t read all of the language in the governor’s budget”), was more or less cut and pasted into the transportation bills endorsed by the House and Senate in June.

Senator Bruce Tarr reminds everyone that Spilka chose to ignore the GOP when they sounded the alarm.

“It should come as no surprise to anyone that taxing the state’s innovation economy is a bad idea.  As far back as January, when the Governor proposed his version of the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget, Republican legislators have been warning that the new tax would seriously undermine the state’s competitiveness.

The new tax on computer software services was a bad idea when it was first proposed, and it’s a bad idea now.  We have opposed it consistently from day one, offering multiple amendments to eliminate or replace it, arguing at length during the transportation finance debate about its dire consequences, and we will be unyielding in our efforts to repeal it.  Putting a new tax on the innovation economy is no way to recover from a recession.”

Keep up the pressure.

Jim Lyons calls for resignation of Middlesex DA and for Independent AG review in Remy Case

State Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) has called for the resignation of Middlesex District Attorney Marion Ryan over her offices handling of Jared Remy.  Specifically why they didn’t fight to keep him locked up.

Martel was stabbed to death Thursday night. Her boyfriend, 34-year-old Jared Remy, the son of legendary Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, has been charged with killing her while the couple’s four-year-old daughter was at home.

Remy has a violent criminal record dating back to 1998.

Lyons wants Ryan, whom the governor appointed to the job in April, to resign immediately.

“We’ve got a violent criminal who has violent past of assaulting women, who was left to walk out on the street,” said Lyons. “I think it is just a total failure on the part of the District Attorney’s Office.”

In addition on Wednesday August 20, 2013 Lyons, in a letter to the Attorney General’s office called upon Martha Coakley to fully investigate the circumstances of Remy’s release.  

Lyons told Red Mass Group, “the DA’s office’s blaming of the victim for not showing up to a restraining order hearing, is reprehensible.”

CATO Institute Says Massachusetts Welfare Recipients Living on Easy Street

The CATO Institute, a Libertarian think tank, has come out with it’s rankings of just how much equivalent pay welfare benefits are worth to a single mother with two children.  You’d like to think the results are shocking, but they really aren’t.  They just confirm what your gut tells you.  The Boston Herald has the story.

The libertarian think tank based in Washington D.C., estimates the total value of the state’s “typical” welfare package – which can include cash, food, housing and medical assistance – if it were taxable income, at $50,540, more than most entry-level wages. The report said that creates an incentive to remain on government assistance.

“Still, it is undeniable that for many recipients – especially long-term dependents – welfare pays more than the type of entry-level job that a typical welfare recipient can expect to find,” the study says. “As long as this is true, many recipients are likely to choose welfare over work.”

The Bay State gave $42,515 worth of welfare to the “typical recipient” in 2013, only behind Washington D.C., at $43,099 and Hawaii at $49,175, the study says, adding that the pre-tax value of a total Massachusetts benefits package if it were an earned salary would be $50,540.

File under: “swipe your EBT, it’s free with your EBT.”

Tewksbury says no to slots

The Longhorn Steakhouse will remain the only reason to get off at the 133 exit in Tewksbury/Andover on 495.  A proposed slots parlor right behind it failed big at a special Tewksbury town meeting last night.  

After 90 minutes of debate Tuesday night, Tewksbury slammed the door on plans to build a $200 million Merrimack Valley casino on 30 acres of commercial land off Route 133 near the Andover town line.

The vote at a Special Town Meeting was 1,568 no to 995 yes for allowing zoning changes that would allow Penn National Gaming to build a 24-hour slots parlor on land now zoned for commercial and research use. The measure required a two-thirds majority, or 1,709 votes to be adopted.

“We respect the decision of the residents of Tewksbury,” said Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National Gaming. “They spoke loud and clear, and we respect that.”

Oh and the McDonald’s at that exit is exceptionally good for a McDonald’s.  Rumor has it that #22 Doug Flutie showed up to rally the troops for the Casino as his sports bar was going to be in it.  

Pot Dispensaries Coming

The deadline is fast approaching for pot dispensary licenses.  Mass Live has the story.

With the deadline fast approaching to submit applications for marijuana dispensaries, some non-profit organizations are reaching deep into their pockets.

A state law approved by Massachusetts voters in a ballot question last year calls for at least one, and no more than five, medical marijuana dispensaries in each of the state’s 16 counties. The deadline to apply for a phase one application is 3 p.m. Thursday.

Applicants must submit a $1,500 nonrefundable fee for the first phase and demonstrate they have $500,000 in liquid capital.

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno