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Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

Mission control, we have tax relief

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Mission control, we have tax relief

We’re jazzed to share with you this morning the finale of our four-part video series designed to showcase our Charles River Chamber communities as great places to take a day trip.

  • Last week we got to Know Needham, exploring family-friendly places in Needham Centre.

Finally today, we’re showcasing Newton with a focus on four of the city’s niche shopping experiences.

Our “Get To Know” videos were funded by Meet Boston! and the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism and created by the Emmy Award-winning team at Another Age Productions in Newton.

Please help us help our local businesses by sharing all four videos.

Get to know Newton
Please share this video in you e-newsletters, embed it on your website, post on your social media feeds and anywhere else you can think of.

Watertown City Council debate to focus on business

Former Watertown Town Council President Clyde Younger is once again challenging City Council President Mark Sideris. It’s the only contested city council race on Nov. 7 ballot.

The chamber will be hosting a virtual debate between the two candidates on Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. The focus of our debate will be economic development issues but there will be some general topic questions as well as questions from attendees. RSVP
Watertown Cable Access Television and Watertown News are also hosting a forum between Sideris and Younger the night before, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m., at the Watertown Free Public.

Mission control, we have tax relief! 

A mere 550 days (but who's counting? Oh, I guess I am) after it was first proposed, both the Senate and House have passed the long-awaited, and needed, compromise tax relief bill.

The bill, which awaits the governor’s signature, would provide $561 million in tax breaks and credits this year and grow to about $1 billion once fully implemented in 2027.

The bill includes provisions the Massachusetts Chamber Policy Network (our chamber is a member) called for to improve Massachusetts’s competitiveness and help retain local talent.

That includes eliminating any taxes for on estates less than $2 million; cutting short-term capital gains from 12% to 8.5%; and overhauling how Massachusetts calculates taxes owed by multistate companies.

It also triples credits for the Housing Development Incentive Program (and relieves a program backlog); increases in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit; and increases tax credits for children, disabled adults, seniors and renters.

Only one Democrat objected and she was from Needham 

Needham Sen. Rebecca Rausch was the only Democrat to challenge the compromise tax relief bill during this week’s floor deliberations, according to State House News, although she did vote for it.

"[W]ith this bill, we're cutting $1 billion from our coffers, wiping out the new revenues of Fair Share [Millionaires' Tax] almost to the penny," Rausch said.

"If we don't increase our revenues, whether through ultra-high-earning corporate taxation or otherwise, then the only other option for us is to put services on the chopping block. So come budget time next year, what are we gonna cut?"

Needham and Wellesley ineligible for disaster loans 

The Small Business Administration is offering disaster relief for some parts of the state that were hammered by torrential rain storms that occurred on Aug. 8. 

However, only Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County are eligible for disaster loans.

Left out was Norfolk County, which includes both Needham and Wellesley.
That’s unfortunate, given that more than 200 Needham residences and businesses (and in the work-from-home era, many residences are businesses) were damaged from flash flooding that morning when some areas of town received as much as 6.5 inches of rain in 90 minutes.

Friday grab bag 

  • It's National Coffee Day and the start of All Over Newton‘s second annual, two-day, Bakery Crawl, featuring almost 20 bakeries in Newton. The Bakery Crawl website has addresses, hours, and oh so many mouth-watering photos and updates.

  • After 75 years of outstanding customer service, Cheryl and Bernie Segaloff are closing their Needham landmark family business Segaloff’s Jewelers. Cheryl and Bernie plan to stay open through the holidays and perhaps a little longer.
  • Learn about the proposal to create a Watertown Cultural District on Oct. 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library. 

  • The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is holding its inaugural Friends of the Poor Walk this Sunday (Oct. 1) around Crystal Lake in Newton. For over 100 years SVDP has helped people with food, clothing, and housing-related needs. Donate or to register

  • A Wellesley Volunteer Fair will be held at the main branch of Wellesley Free Library to connect non-profit organizations with potential volunteers. Hours will be 2-4 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 1) and 10 a.m.-noon on Monday (Oct. 2) Registration.

Here's how other municipalities are approaching MBTA Communities 

Twelve communities -- including Newton -- must submit MBTA Communities Law plans by Dec. 31 of this year. Needham, Wellesley, and Watertown are among a larger group that have until Dec. 31 2024 to comply.

Wondering how those first 12 communities are progressing? Taylor Driscoll at Bisnow has a summary looking at how the first in line are taking different approaches to the mandate.

And here's that excellent overview of the MBTA Communities Law by Chris Kluchman with the state's Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities from our recent housing forum.

Also: Look ma, CommonWealth Magazine has republished the newsletter column I wrote yesterday about Newton's village center plan.

Wellesley rethinking inclusionary zoning 

In November Wellesley's Special Town Meeting will consider expanding the town’s inclusionary zoning bylaw to include all residential projects requiring site plan review, instead of only projects that require a special permit.

They're also considering requiring that developers of new residential projects include 20% of units priced at 80% or less of the area’s median income, as is the case today. They would instead need to make 15% available in that range and 5% available at 81%-140% of AMI. Swellesley Report has more.

We've arranged Sunday's weather just for you 

After so many weekend washouts, we've arranged to have what's known nationwide as Chamber of Commerce Weather this Sunday (Oct. 1).

So stop by and say hello at our annual Needham Harvest Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in conjunction with the Needham Farmers Market and the town at Greene’s Field.
This long-standing event showcases 100 Needham-based businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations while celebrating the fall season.

 Just a sample of what you can expect at this year's fair:

  • Get there early to score a free pumpkin from Condon Realty’s pumpkin patch
  • Shop for fresh, local produce and hand-crafted products at the Farmers Market.
  • Connect with local and state elected officials and learn about many opportunities to get involved in the community through local nonprofits
  • Free flu shots
  • Plus, it's worth repeating again: Free Chamber of Commerce Weather!

Hope to see you there.

That's what you need to know for today, unless you've always wanted to have feet like Mickey Mouse.

We may not have a federal government by then, but we'll be back here for you on Tuesday.

Greg Reibman (he, him)
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