Saturday, April 6, 2013
Should the state forge ahead with Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to invest now? Or should it follow the Legislature leadership's proposal to address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives?
Massachusetts legislators this week answered Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious plan to raise $1.9 billion for transportation and education with a $500 million plan of their own, which says the governor is asking for too much, too soon as the Bay State shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. Who's right? Should the state forge ahead in a bold plan to invest now? Or should it cautiously address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives? While Patrick's plan includes funding for both the state transportation system and increased education funding from preschool through college, House and Senate lawmakers eschew new revenue for education, focusing solely on closing the transportation budget gap over the next five years. The …
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Internet retailer said the collection would begin in time for next year's holiday shopping season.
Checking out at Amazon.com will be a little pricier starting next November. Gov. Deval Patrick's office announced the deal Tuesday, stating the company would be adding jobs to Massachusetts in the next few years, WBZ reported. Amazon.com and Patrick said they would work together to support a federal bill allowing individual states to collect sales tax in states where they have no physical location. "I value the contributions large and small employers alike make to Massachusetts' economic vitality, and this agreement captures that," Patrick said in a statement. "We are thankful Amazon was willing to come to the table and we will continue our conversations with them about creating jobs here. This agreement is a win for all sides, and I am …
Friday, November 30, 2012
Massachusetts Democrats in Congress want to avoid cuts in benefits as part of any deal, but proposals such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare are still on the table. What would you do?
As Congress negotiates a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1, Massachusetts' congressional representatives have voiced their opposition to any cuts in benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Boston Globe reports. However, there are proposals still on the table that would change those benefit programs, including linking Social Security benefits to a more conservative inflation index that would slightly reduce annual increases, or raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. The Globe reported that while the Bay State's legislators were united against changes to Social Security, there's some wiggle room on Medicare. Rep. Ed Markey opposes raising the Medicare eligibility age; Rep. Michael …
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Assessed values on single-family homes are rising across the city, and there's a mini-boom in condo conversions, according to the city's chief tax assessor.
If you own a single-family home in Somerville—and about 2,361 of you do—the assessed value of your home is likely going up, according to Marc Levye, Somerville's chief assessor. Levye spoke to the Somerville Board of Aldermen on Nov. 20 about property taxes for fiscal-year 2013. "Generally speaking, citywide, folks that own a single-family home are going to see a valuation increase. That is across the board," Levye said. One of the reasons is that tax assessors, when valuing properties, take into consideration sale prices over previous years, Levye explained. In recent years, those records included home sales from 2009, which was a low point in the real estate market. However, "Calendar [year] '09 is no longer in the time period that we're…
Sunday, November 25, 2012
The Internet giant has been exempt from collecting sales taxes in Massachusetts, but some say that changed when it bought a North Reading company this year.
The Patrick Administration is arguing that after Amazon, the huge online retailer, bought a Massachusetts company this year it is no longer exempt from collecting the state's 6.25 percent sales tax as soon as the 2013 holiday season. Under federal law, online retailers are not required to collect state sales taxes if they do not have a physical presence in the state, such as an office building or a store, the Boston Globe reported. But Amazon bought North Reading company Kiva Systems this year, and is recruiting engineers for a Cambridge office, according to the Globe report. This, Patrick says, means it needs to start collecting the state sales tax in Massachusetts. Amazon has faced similar pressure from other states and collects sales …
Friday, November 23, 2012
Gov. Deval Patrick plans to ask lawmakers to raises taxes to make up for the shortfall in Massachusetts' transportation system. What options should they consider and what's off the table?
Would you be willing to pay more at the pump, have a tracking system on your car that taxes you by the mile, or see tolls on state highways? Those are just some of the possibilities looming as Massachusetts looks to erase the state's transportation system's deficit. The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Deval Patrick will ask lawmakers to raise taxes in order to pay for a transportation system—from the MBTA to roads and bridges—that continues to operate in the red. The administration will present a specific proposal by Jan. 7. One option is raising the gas tax, a route Patrick sought in 2009 only to be rebuffed by the legislature. Patrick sought a 19 cent increase while business groups endorsed a 25 cent increase. Ultimately, the state …
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Mother Jones released a video of Mitt Romney telling a private audience that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on the government and will never vote for him. Was this a ruinous gaffe, or has Romney told a hard political truth?
A secret video obtained by Mother Jones magazine has rocked the political world. In that video, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims, are dependent on the government and will never vote for him. He went further, saying he wasn't worried about them. The magazine released a portion of the video Monday. In a late night press conference Monday, Romney said the comments were not "elegantly stated," but were part of a larger conversation about the role of personal responsibility. Romney went on to say the comments were a reflection on "the political process of winning an election, and, of course, I want to help all Americans—all Americans—have a bright and prosperous future." Mother …
Friday, August 10, 2012
Hey big spender. Do you have plans for throwing down wads of cash this weekend? Or are you giving your wallet a break?
Break out the credit card: On Tuesday, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that designates Aug. 11 and 12 as a sales tax holiday, meaning you won't have to pay the state's 6.25 percent sales tax. Of course, there are some conditions. The tax holiday doesn't include meals, tobacco or single items that cost $2500 or more. (So much for my big plan to buy a Bugatti Veyron made of charcuterie and Camel Lights.) The tax holiday is intended to send hordes of shoppers to stores, where they'll purchase lots of things and help boost revenues for local businesses. Some consumers wait for the tax holiday to buy big-ticket items they've been planning to get anyway. If you buy something that costs $2500, you'll save $156.25. So, are you planning to take …
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Rosa Colon defrauded the government of between $400K and $1 million in taxes.
Rosa Ivette Colon, 44, who ran a business called X-Press Taxes in Somerville, pleaded guilty Tuesday to identity theft and tax fraud, according to an announcement from the District of Massachusetts United States Attorney's office. Colon, who's from Milford, prepared hundreds of false tax returns for her clients, the announcement says. From 2004 to 2010, she would often prepare two versions of tax claims. One she would provide to her clients, the second, claiming a larger tax refund, she would file with the IRS, and she would pocket the difference, according to the announcement. She also filed fraudulent claims for herself, using bogus W-2 forms claiming nonexistent wages and and withholdings, the announcement says. The announcement says in…
Monday, August 6, 2012
After being seized by the Department of Revenue, the East Somerville diner has reopened, according to the Boston Globe.
Buddy's Diner, on Washington Street in East Somerville, closed last month after authorities with the state's Department of Revenue seized the diner for not paying more than $24,000 in meals taxes. Now, the diner is open again, according to the Boston Globe. The Globe reports the owner of the diner, Nicole Bairos, has reached a deal with the Department of Revenue on a payment plan. Bairos told the Globe she made a mistake by ignoring notifications from the department and that she was heartened by the support she received from customers. You can read the Globe's report here.