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Common Wealth: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Mass Politics?

Friday, November 30, 2012


Every Friday, GoLocalWorcester takes a look at who's rising and falling in the world of Massachusetts politics.


Steve Grossman: The Commonwealth's Treasurer came out this week in favor of keeping the state's current Senate succession rules in place despite the fact that many of his fellow Democrats would like to see the special election process changed back to the former gubernatorial appointment. With Grossman eyeing a run for governor himself, one has to wonder if his desire to see a special election if John Kerry vacates his Senate seat isn't motivated by the thought of getting some potential political rivals out of the way by tying them up with another campaign.

Massachusetts Casinos: Casinos are back on the front burner in the Bay State, and officials at the Commonwealth's Gaming Commission seem eager to roll the dice as soon as possible. Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn visited Massachusetts this week, and while he hasn't said whether or not he's interested in betting on a casino in the Commonwealth, the stop could drum up the kind of interest the commission is hoping will get casinos built, open and pumping out tax revenue as soon as possible.

Tim Murray: Framingham Democrats held a fundraiser for the Lieutenant Governor and former Worcester Mayor on Wednesday, furthering the idea that a formal announcement of his candidacy for Governor in 2014 is a foregone conclusion. With $215,703 in the bank according to reports filed with the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Murray's war chest is already off to a nice start, but he'll likely need to pull in a substantially greater amount of cash if he's going to go after the Commonwealth's top office.

Elizabeth Warren: The Senator-elect is gearing up for her "Starting with People" Tour, that will take her all across the Commonwealth in December to have a chance to thank those who supported her election and meet with new constituents. The victory lap tour stops in Worcester at the Teamsters Hall on Saturday Afternoon.

Tom Menino: The Boston Mayor was up and about on Thursday talking to the media after nearly two months out of the public eye and in the hospital. While still in a rehabilitation center, Menino said he felt better and ruled out retirement, though he was noncommittal on his political future, which means one more potential Democratic name in the hat when it comes time to choose a candidate for higher office.


Robert DeLeo: The House Speaker made the politically inadvisable decision of granting 3 percent raises to all 460 full-time House staffers while the Commonwealth is in the middle of battling shortfalls in revenue with hiring freezes and budget cuts. Even though the staffers in question haven't received a raise in four years and the increases only work out to a combined $764,000, the timing couldn't be worse when the state is facing some rather harsh fiscal realities.

State Deficit: About those shortfalls, they're already taking a toll on taxpayers just a few months into the current fiscal year. Numbers failed to reach the mark that would have triggered an automatic reduction in the state's income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5.20 percent, but even that won't be enough to compensate for lagging revenues. Budget cuts are already on their way for this year and next, and some sort of tax increase, whether on gas or transportation, seems almost inevitable in 2013.

Deval Patrick: The Governor is having a rough go of it at the moment, besieged by scandals and problems on all sides. Sheila Burgess may be gone, but the shadow of a highway safety director with a driving record longer than her resumé lingers over the administration, even if Patrick was not directly responsible for her hiring. With the drug lab scandal and the compounding pharmacy fiasco both seeming to get worse by the day, the Governor may be wishing President Obama would give him a cabinet appointment just to get him away from the mess pretty soon.

Dual Tax Classification: Worcester's revaluation this year did a lot of damage to small business owners in the city, and next week's tax classification hearing is threatening to do even more. If officials can't agree on a more equitable way to distribute the City's tax burden among both commercial/industrial properties and residential ones, the road to a revitalized Worcester will continue to be an uphill one as businesses seek out more affordable locales.


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