Hey, how about a sales tax holiday this year?

As the state’s fiscal outlook seemingly improves by the day, Gov. Charlie Baker emerged from a legislative leadership meaning yesterday and pronounced he’s all for a sales tax holiday this summer and will push for one later this session, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. But House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Harriette Chandler were, well, non-committal. “Something for us to think about,” DeLeo said. “We’ll look at it very carefully,” Chandler said.
Globe editorial on Long Island Bridge reconstruction: Where are the details, Mayor Walsh?
In an editorial, the Globe seems to be siding with Quincy skeptics of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s plan to rebuild the Long Island Bridge, saying the administration simply isn’t providing enough details. “Asking taxpayers to cough up $100 million for a bridge — plus whatever (a) recovery center will cost — without due diligence and consideration of alternatives is unwise.”
Trying to figure out the logic of Partners’ possible takeover of Harvard Pilgrim
Based on the opinions of health-care experts quoted in Priyanka Dayal McCluskey’s Globe piece this morning, Partners HealthCare’s potential acquisition of Harvard Pilgrim seems to be a real corporate and public-policy head scratcher. “There’s no compelling logic for a merger here,” David E. Williams, president of the Boston consulting firm Health Business Group. He’s not alone in expressing skepticism that such a deal might save money.
UMass-Boston students stage walkout over controversial Mount Ida move
Students, faculty and staff members at the University of Massachusetts-Boston staged a walkout yesterday to protest UMass-Amherst’s planned $70 million takeover of nearby Mount Ida College, even as UMass-Boston struggles with a budget deficit and deteriorating campus facilities. Laney Ruckstuhl at the Globe and Kristin LaFratta at MassLive have the details.
Can you build a truly diverse industry from the ground up?
The Globe’s Dan Adams takes a look at an interesting business experiment now under way in Massachusetts, i.e. the state’s attempt, via regulations, to promote more minority-owned firms within the fledgling marijuana industry in Massachusetts. It’s worth a shot. Here’s why: Capitalism is ultimately about a series of failures until something succeeds, and if you don’t even try, you can’t have failures that lead to successes. Via regulations, the state is ultimately giving minority firms an opportunity to at least try to succeed in a new government-sanctioned industry, ironically making it a fascinating market-based experiment.
Elizabeth Warren among Dems embracing the progressive policy du jour: guaranteed jobs
Speaking of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Danielle Kurtzleben reports at WBUR that Democrats mulling presidential runs in 2020 have been steadily embracing all sorts of positions once thought to be on the political far-left fringe, including Medicare for all and tuition-free college. The policy du jour: Guaranteed jobs for all Americans. Warren is reportedly “looking closely” at the issue and has even co-sponsored one jobs-guarantee bill, reports Kurtzleben.

Kerry’s shattered dreams
The rest of world is trying to determine the geopolitical implications of President Trump’s move yesterday to exit the Iran nuclear deal. In Massachusetts, we’re trying to determine the local political implications for our very own John Kerry, the former secretary of state who recently tried to salvage the Iran deal he brokered while serving in the Obama administration.

The Globe’s Matt Viser recalls the intense negotiations Kerry conducted three years ago to achieve a nuclear agreement with Iran – an agreement tossed to the wind yesterday by Trump. The Herald’s Dan Atkinson reports that Kerry may soon start unloading on Trump’s decision. The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is declaring Kerry’s salvage attempt a complete flop and embarrassment. Shannon Young at MassLive has the negative reactions of U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, among others, to Trump’s move yesterday.

The debate over how to spend the state’s likely budget surplus has officially commenced …
Unless there’s a catastrophic plunge in state tax revenues over the next two months, it looks like there will be a somewhat hefty state budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year – and local governments are already laying claim to some of it. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito says cutting the state sales tax “makes some sense.” SHNS’s Michael Norton has the details at the Telegram.
Report: Mass. municipal payrolls grew 40 percent over past decade
Clearly, local governments need the extra money, for wages paid by cities and towns in Massachusetts have risen 40 percent in the past decade, well above the national increase of 24 percent, Joe Dwinell reports at the Herald, citing federal data. In Essex County alone, municipal payrolls grew by 145 percent, even as the number of employees on the books remained steady. “Federal databases don’t lie,” the Pioneer Institute’s Greg Sullivan tells Dwinell.