Axios Boston

Picture of the Boston skyline

November 10, 2022

Thursday, what Wednesday would evolve into if it was a PokΓ©mon.

β˜€οΈ Today's weather: Sunny near 65Β°.

Programming note: Axios is observing Veterans Day and won't send out a newsletter tomorrow. We'll be back in your inbox on Monday.

Today's newsletter is 910 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Voters approve tax on the richest

Illustration of a question mark in a speech bubble with ballot elements in the background.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The state's highest-earning taxpayers will be charged an additional 4% on annual income over $1 million starting next year when the so-called "fair share" amendment to the state constitution goes into effect.

  • The ballot measure narrowly passed with 52% of the vote, AP reports.

Background: The new funds are likely to be set aside for education and transportation projects, but are subject to appropriation by lawmakers.

What they're saying: "Our coalition will stick together to ensure that the money from Question 1 reaches our public school classrooms and college campuses, and our roads, bridges and transit systems," Fair Share for Massachusetts campaign manager Jeron Mariani said in a statement.

  • Advocates will have to maintain pressure on legislative leaders to not divert the new funds to other spending areas.

Why it matters: A surge in funds for public school could mean better pay for teachers, smaller class sizes and better staffing for schools struggling to overcome pandemic learning loss.

  • Legislative Democrats and Governor-elect Maura Healey are already considering a massive overhaul to the MBTA that could include millions more annually to operate the aging system.
  • Public colleges and universities have struggled for decades to stay affordable for middle- and lower-income residents. A funding boost could help reduce public college tuition and boost faculty pay.

The other side: Opponents worry the new tax burden will stop companies from locating in Massachusetts, taking higher-paying jobs with them.

  • High earners could also choose to move out of Massachusetts instead of paying the higher tax, keeping all of their income from the state coffers.
  • "Today is a setback for the Massachusetts economy, a setback for small business owners, a setback for retirees, and a setback for homeowners who will be captured by this amendment," No on 1 spokesperson Dan Cence said in a statement after the AP called the race Wednesday afternoon.

How it works: The new 4% tax will apply only to income over $1 million, meaning an additional $40,000 per $1 million earned.

  • If a person earns $999,999, they would pay no additional tax under the new law.
  • An income of $1.1 million would be taxed an additional $4,000.
  • The higher tax is estimated to directly affect the 0.6% of Mass. households that pay around one-fifth of all income tax.

2. πŸš— Driver's license law survives repeal attempt

Roxana Rivera, left, and Lenita Reason, right, who led the Yes on 4 campaign, stand on a podium and address supporters on election night.

Lenita Reason of the Brazilian Worker Center (center) addresses supporters on election night, alongside Roxana Rivera of 32BJ SEIU (left). Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Massachusetts will expand access to driver's licenses to thousands of undocumented immigrants after voters approved a ballot measure to keep a law that was approved in June.

Driving the news: The rare repeal effort failed 54%-46%, according to the AP.

  • The new law takes effect in July 2023.

Why it matters: Massachusetts is the 17th state to pass a law of this kind, which stands to benefit an estimated 45,000-85,000 potential drivers over the next three years, according to MassBudget.

What they're saying: "Our immigrant families will safely be able to drive to work, drop their kids off at school and go to medical appointments. We built a strong and diverse coalition that fought back against division and drove Massachusetts forward," said Roxana Rivera, 32BJ SEIU's executive vice president, and Lenita Reason, Brazilian Worker Center's executive director, the co-chairs of the campaign to retain the law.

The other side: "It was a great effort. I think things could have been different if so much corporate and union money hadn't flowed into the effort to pass the question," Wendy Wakeman, a Republican strategist who directed the signature-gathering part of the repeal campaign, told Axios.

Details: TPS holders, representing 13,250 recipients in Massachusetts, campaigned to retain the driver's license law since the repeal effort emerged over the summer.

3. πŸ”™ Back that Mass. Up: News from around the commonwealth

Illustration of a seagull with its head in a coffee cup.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

πŸ’° Boston yesterday agreed to pay $2.1 million to the lawyers for the former West Roxbury man who won the right to fly his "Christian" flag over City Hall Plaza in August. (UniversalHub)

πŸ•β€πŸ¦Ί A 5,000-square-foot indoor dog park with a full-service bar is coming to Everett. (Restaurant Talk)

4. 🎸 Hear, here! Boston-area concerts this weekend

Mercyful Fate singer King Diamond has been dressing up like this for 45 years and still pulls it off. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

You could see classic heavy metal from Mercyful Fate, sick jazzy bass from Victor Wooten or Miami synth-pop from Magdalena Bay this weekend in Boston. Here's your weekly curated list of concerts:

  • Victor Wooten brings the bass to City Winery β€” 7pm
  • The Last Waltz Tour tries to capture the magic of the famed 1975 concert by The Band at the Orpheum β€” 7:30pm
  • Comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath is at the Boch Center β€” 7pm
  • Low-key indie from Oso Oso will be at the Paradise β€” 7pm
  • Emo pop punk veterans Senses Fail come to the Crystal Ballroom β€” 8pm
  • Worcester's significantly less emo pop punk foursome Four Year Strong will be at Roadrunner β€” 7pm
  • Magdalena Bay, a synth-pop duo from Miami, appears at the Royale β€” 6pm
  • Indie popster Chloe Moriondo is bedroomy, upbeat as hell, at the Paradise β€” 7pm
  • Jamaican rapper Skillibeng will be at Big Night Live β€” 7pm
  • The OGs of falsetto metal, Mercyful Fate pierce your eardrums and melt your face at MGM Music Hall β€” 7pm

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5. Where's Townie? 🐦 Christian Science Plaza

The Christian Science Center stands on the plaza near a reflecting pool.

It won't be this warm and sunny again for a while. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

Earlier this week we asked you to guess where Townie went.

The correct answer (and obvious one if you check the hyperlink we accidentally added) was the Christian Science Plaza.

Congrats to Sara M. for being the first to guess the correct answer!

πŸ’€ Deehan got 96 minutes of sleep Tuesday night.

🐢 Steph learned Sophie hasn't been adopted yet. Someone give this sweet girl a forever home!