A Look at Wu’s Legislative Wishlist Ahead of Her First State of the City – WBUR News | NutSocia

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Get ready for another round of wintry (and windy) weather tonight. The snow starts around 5pm here in Boston before turning to rain later in the night. Meteorologist Danielle Noyes has a full forecast of what the storm means for evening commutes, overall snowfall forecasts and ski slope conditions in the north.

In the meantime, we’ll have a special live radio broadcast of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s first State of the City address tonight at 7:00 p.m. (Wu’s actual speech is expected to begin around 7:30 p.m.). We also have an online video livestream to watch out while you duck the storm.

So what can we expect?

A look ahead: Read Walter Wuthmann’s preview of Wu’s State of the City here. While the mayor has been in office for over 14 months, to sum it up, she said RadioBoston this week that “the bulk of the speech” tonight will focus on new policies she plans to unveil over the coming year to address the city’s long-term growth and development. And we already have an idea of ​​what some of those policies are.

  • The wish list: Last week, Wu’s office released its long-awaited rent control plan, which would limit annual rent increases to 10% for certain properties. (Wu made extensive pleading for the proposal on RadioBoston.) But that is not all; She also released a laundry list of proposals for the State House and Gov. Maura Healey to pass. You can read the full list on the city’s website, but here are some highlights:
    • A 2% tax on real estate transactions over $2 million combined with a tax credit for senior homeowners in Boston. (Wu also suggested this last year, but then-Governor Charlie Baker opposed it.)
    • A proposal to make all commuter rail journeys within Boston the same price as the MBTA: $2.40 per journey.
    • A ban on “predatory competing electric utilities” that lure residents into high electricity bills. (Healey has also advocated such a ban.)
    • A bill that would offer vouchers for childcare “immediately” to families who are left without accommodation. (Proponents say the current process is hampered by “procedural obstacles.”)

Speaking of the State House, lawmakers met for their annual “consensus revenue hearing” yesterday. Stick with me 30 seconds before your eyes glaze over: It’s quite an important meeting where lawmakers will hear from experts on how much revenue the state will bring in over the next 18 months – which has big downstream implications for what what Healey and the legislative leaders put into the budget. For example, House Speaker Ron Mariano said the hearing would affect his position on whether tax cuts are feasible this year.

  • The big snack? WBUR’s Steve Brown reports that despite rumors of an imminent recession, state officials and outside experts largely agreed that earnings will remain at their already high levels for the next year and a half.
  • These estimates don’t include the state’s new millionaire tax, which the state says could generate between $1.4 billion and $1.7 billion in the next fiscal year (July through June 2024).
  • What’s Next: We’ll see how these estimates shape Healey’s first budget proposal, which is due by March 1.

Finally, amidst all the recent layoff headlines, there is some good local business news: Lego announced yesterday that it plans to move its North American headquarters from Connecticut to Boston. Like any LEGO project, the move will be a gradual process running from mid-2025 to 2026. But local officials are already excited about the jobs the new headquarters is expected to bring to the region.

  • How many jobs? It’s not entirely clear yet. A Lego spokesman told me they are offering all 740 employees at their Connecticut headquarters a job in Boston (as well as relocation assistance). But they know some workers might choose to leave the company instead.
  • New digs: While the phased move will have Lego employees working in both Connecticut and the company’s existing Back Bay office in the short term, they will eventually need a larger office in Boston. Lego says they are now beginning to look for this new location.

PS – Join us at WBUR CitySpace tonight for the kick-off of our busy Winter 2023 chalkboard. WBUR’s Darryl C. Murphy chats with local author Dart Adams about his book about Danish rapper Sleiman. It’s a story that reflects the travels of people Adams grew up with in Boston – an immigrant story about balancing identity and culture clash. (If you’re staying home because of the snow, you can also watch virtually.)

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