The final vote was relatively close for a major bill with leadership support. But the volume and significance of the changes that the Senate made on the floor — and the close vote — make clear that a House-Senate consensus will not be reached before formal sessions end on July 31. I was pleased to speak for and vote for the bill. Here are some of my takeaways.
Proposed zoning reforms make sense environmentally, economically and morally. They would move Massachusetts modestly towards a more regional planning approach common in other states and are fair fiscally.
Our state-wide zoning framework has not been overhauled since the early 1970s. People on all sides naturally view any changes in the rules with great suspicion. I do intend to support the comprehensive zoning reform package coming before the Senate — we need more housing. But I welcome all questions and comments — the details of the bill are still in flux.
Daniel Winter raises concerns about our increasing dependence on natural gas for energy, and discusses alternatives to the current energy consumption patterns in Massachusetts.
Many citizens would welcome lower taxes, but most also question the effectiveness of special tax breaks for particular groups or industries. Special tax breaks tend to encourage crony capitalism by placing the government in the position of picking winners and losers in the economy. Fortunately, we have recently started to make some progress towards bringing special interest tax breaks under better control.
Senate President Therese Murray addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and laid out elements of the Senate’s approach to economic growth, sounding familiar themes, but also starting a conversation about work force training.