Monday, August 17, 2015

Taxing Weekend

Not today:

Sales tax holiday hits stores this weekend
Local outlets cite tax-free weekend boost
Five things to know about the Mass. sales tax holiday

Like all the exemptions and conditions. Far from tax-free(!?).

"As vote looms, concern raised over tax holiday; Legislators, budget watchdogs point to impacts of forgone revenue from sales" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  July 27, 2015

With votes looming this week, a growing chorus of legislators and budget watchdogs from across the political spectrum is voicing sharp skepticism about the summer sales tax holiday, a decadelong Massachusetts tradition popular with consumers.

They want their money!

Some officials worry that the weekend reprieve from the 6.25 percent tax diverts millions from state coffers during tight budget times, depriving the state of money that could be used for everything from education to fighting the opioid overdose epidemic.

As if it is RIGHTFULLY THEIR MONEY, even as they waste it on well-connected corporations in the war, pharmaceutical, tech, and media (Hollywood subsidies that stood), etc.

And they are concerned that the holiday simply alters when consumers spend money, instead of fueling the economy more broadly by increasing spending overall.

They want their money!

But don’t put off thoughts of buying that new couch just yet.

Actually, I didn't have any. My stuff is until death now, and if it craps out before then, oh well. I'm not replacing it.

At this point, the increase in opposition appears insufficient to kill the tax holiday this year — planned for Aug. 15 and 16, pending lawmakers’ approval — but its fate in future years is increasingly uncertain.

That reminds me regarding that 6.25% sales tax. It was put in at the height of the financial crisis with the idea that jot would be rolled back when the economy got better (i'm told Massachusetts is outpacing everyone, but....), and never happened. And for all that talk about the Massachusetts economy.... Baker budget chief Kristen Lepore said the governor’s broader budget trims were necessary, in part, because some nontax revenues, such as fees, are coming in at lower-than-expected levels.

Then the economy can't be roaring, for if it were the numbers would be better than expected (unless government expected unrealistic results, then.... isn't that irresponsible?)

Now they want to nickel-and-dime you more by taking two "holidays" away.

(For the record, I stayed home).

"Legislators also agreed last week to change legal language in the recently passed sales tax hike to assure credit agencies that $100 million earmarked for the Turnpike Authority would go toward paying off Big Dig debt."

Oh, yeah, there is that, too. 

No wonder it was never rolled back.

Killing the tax holiday is politically risky.

Lobby money at $take?

Many retailers loudly support it, saying it is good for consumers, businesses, and jobs, and legislators are not keen to yank a holiday seen as backed by constituents.

Then why not eliminate it altogether (and watch the economy soar even as all the tax loot for the wealthy dries up).

In interviews, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and his House counterpart, Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, did not express particularly strong enthusiasm for the sales tax holiday, but the Democrats acknowledged the political reality that anchors it.

“I’ve always been cool to it,” Rosenberg said of the holiday with a laugh, “but I’ve lined up every year and voted for it.”

How gracious of Stan!

During last year’s holiday, which applied to almost all retail items priced $2,500 or less, the state lost out on $25 million of sales tax revenue, according to an estimate from the Department of Revenue. That’s $25 million consumers saved.

As if it were theirs to begin with.

DeLeo said he is concerned about how the sales tax holiday affects the state’s bottom line.


“Having said that,” the powerful legislator continued, “it has become so popular with the consumers and especially the retailers as well, who contact their local reps and senators, that I think it’s somewhat difficult to try to put the brakes to it.” He also said it can be a boon to retailers and shoppers. 

As for that bottom line:

Spending the Day at the Track

What a jerk!!!

Rosenberg sounded a note of discomfort with what is often last-minute legislating that, he said, makes it seem as if elected officials have no choice because everybody is expecting the sales tax holiday.

He said it would be productive for the Legislature to have a fuller conversation “about if you’re going to invest $25 million of taxpayer money to help people, what’s the best way to do it?” 

I'm right here, and have been for 9 years. Linking stories, linking stories, linking stories.

Rosenberg added he can think of other ways, including permanent tax cuts, “that could help people as much, if not more.”

One oft-cited study opponents of the holiday point to: a scathing 2014 report from the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, which found sales tax holidays across the country shift spending rather than boost it, create tax code complexity, and aren’t a good tool to provide relief to low-income people.

I'll let you think about that for a minute.

“Sales tax holidays do not promote economic growth or significantly increase consumer purchases,” the report said. Seventeen states had holidays in 2014, according to the foundation.

Massachusetts rolled out its first holiday in 2004, though then it was one day, instead of two. It has since happened every year except 2009, when the economy was struggling.

They took it away when it was needed most! The economy wasn't struggling; their budget balance was!

The Department of Revenue estimated that the amount of forgone sales tax revenue was about $25 million last year, up from nearly $15 million in 2008.

But Jon B. Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, said the boost to the local economy far outweighs the revenue the state forgoes.

Hurst pointed to a Beacon Hill Institute study commissioned by the Retailers Association that found a sales tax holiday this year would bring up to $231 million in retail sales to the state and create the equivalent of up to 860 new full-time jobs. 

I don't see how a two-day off does that, but everyone has an agenda to $ell.

He said the holiday is key for retailers competing with shops in New Hampshire, which doesn’t have a sales tax, and the Internet. And he said in the age of smartphone instant shopping gratification, the idea that the holiday just shifts spending doesn’t really hold water.

Hurst also made a political point.

“Everybody who runs for reelection every other November says they are pro-small business and pro-Main Street,” he said, adding that support for the sales tax holiday is “the best indicator of whether people support their small businesses and support their consumers.” 


(Answer: then Beacon Hill and the political cla$$ of Bo$ton will have the trough of tax loot dry up, waaaa)

But Senator William N. Brownsberger, a Belmont Democrat who has voted for the holiday, plans to vote against it this year, he said. On his website, he tells constituents that “[h]olidays are festive and I am not by nature a grinch.” But he’s reassessing his support.

Senator Robert L. Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, called it “a complete gimmick.”

“We pick people’s pockets all year long, and now we throw a little scrap back and try to present ourselves as heroes,” he said, arguing that the temporary holiday doesn’t reform tax policy to make Massachusetts more competitive.


Beacon Hill budget watchdogs chimed in with varying degrees of skepticism.

Eileen McAnneny, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said from a budgetary standpoint the sales tax holiday “is getting increasingly more difficult to justify, given the [state’s] structural deficit” and funding levels remaining essentially static for most parts of state government.

Then how can this economy be roaring like I've been told?

Leaders of others watchdogs, across the political spectrum, also poured cold water on sales tax holiday boosterism.

They want their money!

In 2014, a bill that contained the sales tax holiday was enacted unanimously in the Senate and won approval 144-9 in the House.

Representative Alan Silvia, a Fall River Democrat, was one of the majority to vote for it, he said essentially by rote.

But, he explained, the more he thinks about what $25 million could be spent on, from early education to fighting the opioid overdose crisis, the more he is opposed to it.

Silvia noted the tough economic times Massachusetts was in when the first holiday was voted on.

“It was supposed to be a one-time deal,” he said. “Part of the problem in Massachusetts: We do these one-time things, then they last forever and ever, amen.”

Yeah, like a 6.25% sales tax that was san emergency fix and supposed to go away. 

Now you know why I am AGAINST STARTING NEW THINGS HERE or at the federal level.


Globe is supporting it:

"House passes bill setting this year’s sales tax holiday" by Joshua Miller Globe Staff  July 29, 2015

Good news.​

The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday passed a summer sales-tax holiday, teeing up consumers for a two-day reprieve from the 6.25 percent levy — and lining up what some businesses say would be a helpful boost to sales.

There is some debate about the "goodne$$."


Despite increasing opposition to the tradition, which has taken place in 10 of the past 11 years, both Democratic-controlled chambers on Beacon Hill took lopsided votes in favor of passage: 136-20 in the House and 27-11 in the Senate.

Want to keep their seats.

The bill needs other procedural votes before going to Governor Charlie Baker, who is expected to sign it into law.

Earlier Wednesday, Baker said he would want to read the bill first, but “if it’s similar to previous years then I would sign it.”

Baker, a Republican, noted that many people in the state are anticipating the holiday, “and while it’s certainly a close call, if the Legislature believes that this is that something we should do, I’m certainly willing to support that.”

Opponents worry that the tax holiday just shifts sales to the weekend from other times of the year, rather than boosting overall economic activity. And they fret about the $25 million in tax revenue that the state forgoes.

OMG!!! Fretting!

Fret is a verb that means to worry unnecessarily or excessively. When you fret, you worry so much about something that it eats away at you

I think the Globe just took a subtle, back-handed dig at opponents.

Also seeBeacon Hill leaders keep corporate tax deduction intact

No FRETTING there! It is literally ALL $MILES!

What is next, tax amnesty for.... SIGH!


House, Senate argue over tax tiff
Senate votes to increase state’s earned income tax credit
State’s highest court sides with Senate in tax fight

That is the same court that said DNA tests upon arrest are OK without a warrant.

Mass. Senate’s budget brings relief for working poor into sight

So $ayeth the Globe.

Liberal groups propose higher tax for top earners

Good luck.

But business leaders said they are excited for the 2015 holiday to become law soon. 

They talked to Lavine and Steinberg.



Tax break is no holiday for Mass.
Mass. sales tax holiday set for Aug. 15-16

Giving Bo$ton a Break 

Big city breaks okay. 

It's been a while since I tackled the budget and Baker. How to fill the gaps left by Patrick and tweak things while being patient is going to cause some worry and will present quite a challenge:

"The Senate passed the bill by a voice vote, meaning no senator had to go on record supporting the cuts, one day after the House passed it by a roll call vote, 155 to 1, in a victory for the governor, a Republican."

Despite the praise, there were warnings of cuts and lost jobs in order to rein in spending while shifting things around and making some mergers. They were mum on continued biopharma aid, but it will be funded, after all. It's all out of view, in a zone, something you can not hear, and it is the perils of one-party politics in all its forms.

What we need is more energy, even if it means getting it from Canada and paying for pipelines. You would have to be crazy not to see it.

Anyhow, Baker signed the budget, and it's a solid budget. Spends more money on a lost war, but that is par for the course roun' h're. You can meet the women behind it if you wish, and all the compassion they brought to the books. It shook up the unions, but they should have sensed the betrayal a long time ago (and they called it victory?). 

It's been a disaster, and much less support than they were expecting. Maybe penning a letter would help. If anything, it might smooth over some of the harshness. Even if it is rejected, you can appeal and ask for more. Bosses can't be that stingy.

Maybe the unions should just cut them all a break, give them a pardon, and rescinded the criticism. 

After all, Charlie keeps his promises:

"Governor Charlie Baker, fulfilling a campaign pledge, will set aside $300,000 in his proposed state budget for women whose employers deny them contraceptive coverage, according to a source in his administration. Baker came under fire during the campaign when he said the US Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, allowing closely held companies to deny contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, “doesn’t matter” because it would not have any impact on Massachusetts. “What I care about is Massachusetts and, for Massachusetts, it doesn’t change a thing, which is great,” he said, at the time. Baker’s opponents took his “doesn’t matter” line out of context. But the candidate, eager to improve on his poor performance with women voters in his 2010 run for governor, did not hit back. Instead, he acknowledged the decision could have an impact on a small number of women in the state. And he pledged the $300,000 set-aside, saying “I have always, and will as governor, support women’s right to access comprehensive health care.” The money will be included in Baker’s proposed budget, set to be released next week, for the fiscal year that begins in July."

Taking the lead on that is going to raise the ire of some. 

That mean the money will be going to Planned Parenthood?

Fulfilling a campaign pledge must be what is responsible for his high marks (what a mess he took over, a mess covered up during the campaign!!!) He's doing the kind of work even some Democrats admire, but the rewards doled out are raising questions with the possibility of a probe as Democrats now cast wary eye on Baker, things they had no interest in doing when it was Marty Coakley).

I'm sure Baker will speak about the matter at some point, but this is all making me want to retire. Maybe you think I'm selling out but I'm not worried. It's already getting late and I have to get moving on to other things. I've already been delayed and need to clear the way so I can move on to other topics. You can sue me, but the reward will fall short, I assure you.

Speaking of retirees:

As Deval Leaves.... 

The $oap opera continues:

"Deval Patrick’s overseas trips yielded mixed results; Supporters say trade visits fueled long-term growth" by David Scharfenberg Globe Staff  July 08, 2015

There is, no doubt, something glamorous about international trade missions.

When Governor Deval Patrick visited Israel in 2011, he posed for photographs with then-President Shimon Peres and dined at the US ambassador’s mansion overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

But the days are long, and the blowback can be intense. The big question posed by government watchdogs and often sharp-tongued media: Does all that public spending on glitzy hotels and fashionable dinners really pay off?

What have I been typing you?

A Boston Globe review of Patrick’s 10 missions, which spanned 15 countries and four continents, suggests there is no firm answer. With Patrick now out of office for six months, it’s easy to highlight examples of deals that fizzled and difficult to point to clear game-changers for the Massachusetts economy.

In other words, they were excuses for junkets. 

I'm sure I could find those missions somewhere, but why bother? I'm just glad he is out of office.

But proponents say the trips planted seeds for long-term growth. And the more immediate victories, they insist, were real: the British biopharmaceutical firm that moved its headquarters to Lexington, the Boston lawyer who drummed up new business in Israel.

“I think the economic benefit that I’ve created is well in excess of the [$1.5 million taxpayer] cost of all of those trips . . . and I’m just one guy,” said Michael Greeley, a venture capitalist who went on several of Patrick’s trade missions and won a “substantial amount” of foreign investment that he’s poured into Massachusetts firms.

Benefit to whom?

A spokesman for Governor Charlie Baker said he “has no plans to travel abroad at this time” but declined to expound on whether he might head to Paris or Mexico City at some point in the future.

If he does, he will join a host of other governors — including presidential hopefuls Chris Christie and Scott Walker — who have traveled abroad of late, often to mixed reviews.

I will be watching.

Massachusetts governors have faced similar scrutiny — William Weld for his dozen trade missions, Paul Cellucci for his own overseas trips. Mitt Romney, who once deemed trade missions “boondoggles,” planned a trip to Israel, only to cancel it amid criticism that he was burnishing his foreign policy credentials for a presidential bid.

Patrick’s first trade mission, in 2007, was to China, where he lobbied Hainan Airlines to launch a nonstop flight between Boston and Beijing.

One key meeting, he said in an e-mail, unfolded in the Forbidden City, where he dined with Hainan executives on a rare fish that required a special chef to remove a deadly venom sac.

“When you ate the serving,” Patrick wrote, “your lips tingled.”

Drawing a straight line between the dinner and the advent of the flight is difficult.

Talks had been underway for a couple of years before Patrick’s 2007 trip. And it would be another seven before the announcement came; there were delays in production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner required for the route.

But Joel Chusid, the executive director of Hainan’s US operation, said face-to-face meetings with high-ranking officials are important in Chinese culture.

“It’s a matter of respect,” he said.

Whatever its origins, the Beijing-to-Boston flight has an annual economic impact of $255 million, according to a recent report commissioned by Massport, which owns and operates Logan Airport. 

I love the "whatever."

Other wins claimed by the Patrick administration do not hold up as well. Officials, for instance, pointed to $15 million in direct investments by Chinese companies in Massachusetts after the trip — including tech firm Hengtian’s establishment of a local office.

But Karyn Murphy, a managing director with Hengtian, said the decision was really driven by a desire to be closer to Boston-based State Street Corp., a partner in the venture, and the company’s North American and European customers.

A spokeswoman for Canton-based Organogenesis, which focuses on soft tissue regeneration and wound healing, said an oft-touted partnership with the National Tissue Engineering Research Center of China fizzled after the center failed to raise promised funds.

But supporters argue the China trip, and a subsequent Asian sojourn, will yield long-term benefits for the Massachusetts economy. Greeley, the venture capitalist, met one of China’s highest-ranking health care officials in Hong Kong during a 2013 trade mission and hosted him at his vacation home in Maine last summer. 

It's the carrot tied to a stick $yndrome. 

Btw, have you seen China's economy lately?

“It’s their senior-most policy maker in health care, I run a health care tech fund, I see the guy in Asia on this trip, and then he comes to the States and he stays with me for four days,” he said. “That’s great access. It’s great insight into how that country is going to evolve.”

China was Massachusetts’ fourth-largest export market last year.

Andrew J. Cassey, an economist at Washington State University who has studied gubernatorial trade missions, said targeting that sort of established partner — rather than emerging markets — makes sense.

“You go to your best customers,” he said. “You don’t really cold call.”

But while Patrick visited many of the state’s biggest partners on his trade missions — Canada, England, and Japan among them — there were also trips to Denmark, Chile, and Brazil, where the returns were generally meager.

That makes $en$e?

Still, Greg Bialecki, who served as Patrick’s housing and economic development secretary, said two trips to Massachusetts’ 27th largest export market, Israel, were quite fruitful.

Now that makes $en$e!

He recalled sitting in a meeting in 2011 with Patrick and top executives at El Al Israel Airlines, who thanked the governor for his visit but said a couple other American cities were at the top of their list for new nonstop flights from Tel Aviv.


They the ones getting caught in customs?

“I’m not here to ask you to commit to come to Boston,” Bialecki recalled the governor saying. “But I am here to ask you . . . to put us on that list of two or three that you’re considering.”

Danny Saadon, a vice president at El Al, said there were other factors that bumped Boston to the top of the list. Plans for a Chicago flight, for instance, fell through.

But “we were very impressed that the governor came in person,” Saadon added. And he got the sense, he said, that the governor’s high-profile push galvanized other Massachusetts officials to make the flight, which launched last week, a reality.

The Israel trips yielded other more direct outcomes.

Bill Schnoor, a partner at the law firm of Goodwin Procter, said he made some good contacts during the 2014 mission and has returned several times since, landing “real work with real clients.”

And Nadav Efraty, chief executive of Desalitech, a company that specializes in water purification and reuse, said the missions “really were instrumental” in the company’s decision to move its headquarters from Israel to Newton.

Related: Israel's Waterworld

Ultimately, Desalitech is just one piece of a burgeoning water technology industry in Massachusetts. And the sum total of the gains from Patrick’s trade missions is small when measured against the larger Massachusetts economy.

But Cassey, the economist, says for all the attention the trips get, their cost is small, too; just a tiny fraction of a state’s multibillion-dollar budget.

If trade missions are mistakes, he suggested — and his research draws no definitive conclusions about their value — “there are bigger mistakes in the state budget than that.”


Deval Patrick met Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, on a visit in 2011.
Deval Patrick met Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, on a visit in 2011 (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File).

Awww, look. Patrick puckering up and it's all smiles!

I'm kind of fed up with that sort of thing.

"No evidence of Patrick budget wrongdoing, lawmaker says" by David Scharfenberg Globe Staff  June 19, 2015

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo called the news “disconcerting.” Republican lawmakers demanded an investigation. And Representative David Linsky, chairman of the House’s auditing committee, announced that he was launching a preliminary inquiry.

Reaction was swift last week when reports surfaced that former governor Deval Patrick “secretly diverted” millions of public dollars into “off-budget accounts” that paid for a wide variety of government initiatives — including $1.35 million for overseas trade missions, or “junkets,” led by the governor. 

It's a CRIMINAL SCANDAL, but no one in Bo$ton wants to drag this up.

But Linsky, heading the inquiry, says he has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing to date.

They are destroying it as quickly as possible.

And a Boston Globe review shows that, in budget documents and press releases, the Patrick administration was open about its plans to divert millions from a series of independent, quasi-public agencies to the state government in the midst of a historic recession.

They didn't think they were doing anything wrong!

The Legislature itself explicitly embraced the practice in at least two of its budgets. And officials with several of the quasi-public agencies, including Massport and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, said their boards approved the budget transfers in open public meetings.

Linsky, of the House Post Audit and Oversight committee, said the transfers were either “specifically authorized by the Legislature” or “allowable under existing budgetary rules” and “do not appear to be in violation of either any laws or procedures.” 

It's called burying this story.

He added that his panel has not yet looked at the spending side of the ledger: how the Patrick administration allocated the quasi-public funds, some $35.7 million of them routed through trusts the Boston Herald referred to in several stories on the matter as “off-budget accounts” or “off-the-books-trusts.”

Oh, the Herald scooped ya'!?

But he suggested the panel would have a hard time pinning blame on Patrick when it came to the expenditures that have generated the most interest: those related to trade missions.

“We’ll look at it,” he said. “But I can also tell you there aren’t any explicit laws on the books about expenditures . . . on overseas travel and trade missions. . . . Without any established laws, rules, or regulations, it is going to be difficult to cast any fault upon the executive branch.”

Thank God he's not running for president (of course, his record of neglect is long and atrocious).

This may be a moment, he added, for the Legislature to establish clear rules for overseas travel.

While there is no broad state policy governing trade mission expenditures, the Patrick administration did sign agreements with quasi-public agencies dictating how their contributions to the state would be spent.

One agreement between the administration and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative reviewed by the Globe set out a handful of specific trade-promotion uses for the funds, none of which made direct reference to overseas trade missions.

But there was language in the agreement stating that, beyond the enumerated uses, the administration could dedicate MassTech money to other costs incurred by the state’s international trade office.

Why did $lu$h fund just come to mind?

Greg Bialecki, who signed the agreement as Patrick’s secretary of housing and economic development, defended the administration’s handling of foreign trade missions. “I’m prepared to explain to anybody where the money came from and where the money went and why it was a great investment for the state,” he said.

Similar agreements made with Massport made no reference to trade missions, but included broad language calling on the state to seek new international flights to airports owned and operated by the agency, such as Logan International Airport. Patrick sought new flights during his overseas trips.

News accounts from the time do not provide detailed descriptions of the funding mechanisms used to pay for the trade missions. But the stories show the Patrick administration regularly disclosed that quasi-public agencies such as Massport and MassTech were contributing money.

The $1.35 million state tab for nine overseas trips included $332,193 in flights, $535,558 in hotel stays, and $305,976 in transportation, among other costs. The total and breakdown were first reported by the Herald.

Oh, the Herald scooped 'em!? 

Maybe I'm reading the wrong paper.

The budgeting maneuvers at issue date back to October 2008, when Patrick moved to close a $1.4 billion shortfall as the economy cratered.

He slashed more than $1 billion from the budget and eliminated 1,000 state jobs in what the administration called the worst set of midyear cuts in Massachusetts history.

But as the administration noted in a press release at the time, it also secured money from quasi-public agencies “to mitigate the impact of state cuts.”

The release listed the agencies and their contributions: $4.5 million from MassDevelopment and $2.5 million from the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, among others. The total, from 11 quasi-public agencies, was $46 million, a figure noted in a Globe article the day after the announcement.

The Patrick Administration routed a portion of that money through trusts, a practice that would continue for the next six years. It’s unclear what the precise rationale was for using the trusts. But trusts are a common budgeting tool, often used to wall off funds for specific purposes. 

Yeah, NOTHING to SEE HERE even though it looks like they are HIDING SOMETHING!

All of the quasi-public money identified in October 2008 was to be spent by state government on purposes in line with the agencies’ missions: the MassDevelopment money, for instance, would support local permitting activities and technical assistance for small businesses.

Several months later, the Legislature enshrined this approach in the next state budget, delegating quasi-public funds for many of the precise purposes Patrick had laid out in his midyear budget revision. The Legislature repeated the move the following year.

Then they are complicit. Democrats protecting Democrats, and what's wrong with that?

Patrick vetoed the measures both years, preferring to lean on the independent agencies for voluntary contributions rather than mandate them by law. But the Legislature overrode his vetoes.

The Patrick administration, if cool to the Legislature’s exact approach, continued to openly tout the value of mining the quasi-public agencies.

Documents in the governor’s proposed budgets for fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013 provided detailed breakdowns of the financial commitments various quasi-public agencies had made to the state government.

Scott Jordan, a former undersecretary of administration and finance under Patrick, said the administration pursued the contributions in “a transparent and open manner with the support of the Legislature and the boards of the quasi-publics.”

With the economy on the uptick, Patrick did not propose any quasi-public contributions in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. But the state did pluck $7 million from the agencies in fiscal year 2014. And when the governor faced a final mid-year shortfall last fall, he called on an old tool.

In a letter to “the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives” explaining his plan to remedy the state’s budget woes, he wrote that “we have secured the commitment of several of our quasi-public partners” that received money via an economic development bill “to return a portion of those funds to the Commonwealth.”


RelatedDeval Patrick joins board of e-health firm 

I suppose he has every rea$on to $mile despite the monumental let down. It wasn't much money, and he did have to forgo it despite key backing from some very important players. This stuff is starting to overlap now so I'm going to show some humility by skipping it

I tell you this in the interest of disclosure (has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?). I know I'm taking a gamble but promise I will return at some point and donate more of my time and attention to such things.

Now be quiet because I want to hear this:

"Patrick joins N.Y. speakers bureau

You look at the list of speakers commanding eye-popping fees at the Harry Walker Agency and you see names like Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Al Gore, Bono, Henry Kissinger . . . and Deval Patrick.

The agency’s biggest celebrities walk off with huge checks. Bill Clinton, for instance, got $750,000 to deliver a talk to a gathering of a Swedish telecom company in Hong Kong.

What Patrick would get is tough to find out. He is mum on the question, and the Walker Agency has not returned phone calls. But the best guesstimate is about $50,000. Fees are usually never made public. But well-known national figures are cashing in on the lucrative speaking tour. Mitt Romney made nearly $400,000 in 2010 and 2011, according to the Washington Post.

Sure is a lot of money out their just to hear people talk.

Patrick signed up with the Manhattan-based agency shortly after leaving office this year.

He did plan his e$cape well.

He has already given one speech, at a Boston event celebrating the 50th annivesary of EF Education First, a private Swedish company that offers a wide range of educational travel and exchange experiences for students and adults. It also operates a number of English-language schools.


New NorthPoint project making a big splash
Education First aims to bridge barriers with exchange
EF Education First headquarters debuts in Cambridge
EF Education First bash draws Bill Clinton, others

I'll bet Bill's big black women make quite a splash, too. 

All in good fun, readers.

Patrick was among numerous celebrity speakers at the firm’s “Day with World leaders” last month. Clinton attended, along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, and former British prime minister Gordon Brown. Patrick’s successor, Charlie Baker, spoke too. The event was closed to the press and public.

Pre$$ not really part of the BIG CLUB?

As governor, Patrick spoke at the groundbreaking event in 2012 when the firm began building its current North American headquarters in Cambridge. The project was part of the Patrick administration’s economic development — including the use of state bond funds — for the North Point area.

Still it is not clear that Patrick can — or wants to — make that kind of money. His speech topics, “Achieving Economic Success in the 21st Century” and “Leadership Lessons for a Better World,” may not be a big draw. 

I wouldn't want to hear him speak.

“I’ve made one speech for a fee and am trying to keep it to as few as possible,’’ he said in an e-mail. “Except for commencements this spring (for which there is no fee), I won’t be doing much of any such stuff when I start my new job except as it relates to that work.’’

He's going to monkey around at Harvard.

He declined to reveal just what his new job would be."


"A San Francisco biotech company that in April named Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, to its board saw its stock more than double in value when the company went public this week. Shares of Global Blood Therapeutics Inc. opened Wednesday at $20 and closed at $43.11, a 116 percent gain. As part of Patrick’s compensation, he got options to purchase 21,428 shares. He cannot begin to exercise the options until August 2016, and the company has not disclosed the price at which he can buy the shares, known as the strike price, making it impossible to calculate what Patrick’s paper gain is so far. The stock closed down about 9 percent Thursday at $39.03. The company, which develops drugs for blood disorders, said Patrick’s qualifications “include his significant experience as a business and government leader with a record of success in solving complex problems.” In June, he joined the board of another company, the Boston tele-health firm American Well. It has not disclosed his compensation. Patrick could not be reached for comment Thursday evening." 

They didn't look at this state, did they? 

Off the top of my head there were the meningitis murders due to lax regulations; the state drug lab scandal and mushrooming heroin crisis on his watch; the failed unemployment and health websites; the DCF scandal; torture at Bridgewater. I'm sure if I sat here I could come up with -- the $2 billion hole he left Baker -- more, but time is running short.

So Baker pokes fun at Patrick, then the Globe pokes at him, and Baker pokes back at Patrick before getting back to work

Makes one wonder what life would be like had we seceded from the state and named Springfield as our capital, with a new governor and everything. 

Time for me to withdraw for a while. The exertion applied publishing this most has proven most taxing.

UPDATE: Hardware problems delay unemployment benefits for 30,000