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This deduction is returning at just the right time

This deduction is returning at just the right time

Happy Opening Day week!
 
Phillip Eng, the MBTA’s newly appointed GM, jumped aboard a speed-restricted Green Line train from downtown Boston to Newton yesterday for his introductory press conference at Riverside Station (which, he will learn, is where the third row of rosemary is on this map.)
 
The event began 15 minutes late.
 
"It's time for a new way of doing business at the MBTA," said Eng, a longtime engineer and former president of the Long Island Rail Road.
 
Eng predicted the transit agency would “get to the point where people were praising the T, rather than treating it as the butt of jokes, scorn and sorrow.”
 
Of course, Eng likely would likely have arrived in Newton sooner if he took the commuter rail instead.
 
In fact, because portions of Riverside Line are under speed restrictions, the T is letting riders use their Charlie Cards and tickets on the Newtonville, West Newton, and Auburndale commuter rail trains for alternate service in and out of Boston.
 
But not unlike Charlie on the MTA, Eng, and other riders can't necessarily return the way they came since those three stations are limited to one-way service 
 
Or, he could have taken an Express Bus out here. Rather, he could have done so pre-pandemic before service on several routes was suspended.
 
And once Eng starts his new gig on April 10, let's hope he'll ask why the Riverside Line slowdowns were necessary given that D-Line service was shut down for multiple weeks last fall so that more than 6,000 feet of track could be replaced and a half-dozen station crossings updated.
 
In other words, Eng has his work cut out for him.
 
Charitable donation deduction comes at just the right time
 
Massachusetts residents lost the ability to deduct charitable contributions from their state taxes years ago.
 
But the Massachusetts donation deduction is back this year. It can even be used for filers who don’t itemize their federal deductions.
 
The change, effective Jan. 1, 2023, was overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2000 but put on hold by state lawmakers during a revenue crunch.
 
Now that it's back some progressive groups are looking to reverse it again, worried that the deduction will “incentivize the state’s top earners to make more contributions in an effort to blunt the impact of the new millionaires' tax, which sets a 4% surtax on individual incomes over $1 million,” according to Christian M. Wade at the Eagle Tribune.
 
Incentives to give more to our nonprofits (many of whom work to help those most in need) sounds like a great idea to me and something you'd think progressives would embrace.
 
?And it's returning just in time to help the state’s nonprofits which are suffering from many of the same economic headwinds as our for-profit employers.
 
Find a list of the chamber member nonprofits here.
 
Turnover coming to the Newton City Council
 
Two Newton City Councilors well-known for their opposing positions on multi-family housing and economic development won’t be seeking reelection this fall, Fig City News reports
 
Ward 2 Councilor Emily Norton was the most visible opponent of several mixed-use developments in her ward, while Ward 6 Councilor Brenda Noel was equally outspoken on the other side.
 
Both are stepping back but still have their high-profile day jobs in the nonprofit sector. Norton is the executive director at the Charles River Watershed. Noel holds the same title at Pathway to Possible.
 
(Norton was also in the middle of a never resolved dirty trick during the last city council election cycle.) 
 
All 24 city council seats will be open for reelection this fall but vacated seats often draw the most interest.  
 
Meanwhile, Fig City also has details on the finally-released pre-election campaign finance report from the No Override Newton ballot committee.
 
Turns out just two donors contributed $20,000 of the total $25,304 the campaign raised as of March 6. Maybe that's why they were willing to risk a fine rather than share that with voters before the election?
 
Other need to knows
 
  • The Wellesley Hills branch of Silicon Valley Bank that became the poster child for SVB branches worldwide reopened yesterday under the First Citizens umbrella.
 
  • The same week the Globe introduced its new New Hampshire focus and former editor Brian McGrory appropriately and masterfully skewered Gannett’s CEO for gutting local papers, the Globe Local section disappeared from the Sunday paper. That’s a loss for suburban readers who could occasionally find news there about their communities that otherwise went unreported.  
 
  • Watertown’s Via Separations has leased about half of the available space at Sasaki’s former headquarters at 64 Pleasant St. The venture-backed clean manufacturing company, currently on Dexter Ave, received $38 million in series B funding in 2021. (Banker & Tradesman)
 
  • Green Needham has published responses to questions for the candidates for Select Board and Planning Board about energy and climate. Needham's election is on April 11.
 
 
  • Watertown is seeking project proposals for the use of $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The deadline is May 26. Details.
 
Goodbye to the King of the Hill
 
Veteran NBC10 Boston and NECN political reporter Alison King has signed off after covering state and national politics from the Newton and, more recently, Needham-based studios for 28 years.
 
A who's-who of political figures said goodbye in style in this star-studded video, including a Deval Patrick cameo that will likely choke you up.
 
That’s your need to knows for today -- National Weed Appreciation Day (no, the other weeds) – unless you need to know the 50 best real songs by made-up musicians.
 
Be back Friday.
 
Greg Reibman (he, him)
President
617.244.1688
 
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