Tuesday, April 16, 2019

MassBudget: For Tax Day: A Round-Up of Recent Tax-Related Reports

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.
April 15, 2019

For Tax Day: A Round-Up of Recent Tax-Related Reports

Our Commonwealth's current prosperity depends, in no small part, on the investments that earlier generations made before us. Think of where we'd be if earlier generations hadn't invested in our subway system or the Massachusetts Turnpike - or if the Commonwealth hadn't committed to establishing the nation's first public school. Our state and our lives would look quite different today without those forward-thinking investments.

Some of the most important things we do together through state and local government is educate our children, increase the mobility of our people through public transit and safe roads and bridges, and improve people's well-being through access to healthy foods, medical care, and other necessities. And, improving the quality of the education our children receive and the transportation infrastructure our communities rely on requires up-front investments for long-term pay-offs.

Tax revenue helps fund these important priorities. For this year's income tax filing deadline, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) is revisiting some of its recent papers related to the state's tax system. Here are some of the highlights: 

Who pays state and local taxes in Massachusetts? 

Who pays state and local taxes in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts' tax system is upside-down, meaning it asks low- and middle- income taxpayers to contribute a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than high-income taxpayers.

How do decades-old tax cuts affect our state today?

How do decades-old tax cuts affect our state today?

The upside-down nature of our taxes were exacerbated by tax cuts from the late 1990s and early 2000s. These tax cuts, which today mean more than $4 billion in lost revenue per year, mostly helped the highest-income taxpayers.

What are ways to help turn our tax system right-side up?

What are ways to help turn our tax system right-side up?

But there are ways to turn our upside-down tax system right-side up. MassBudget explored 14 options that would not require changes to the State Constitution.
For more information on the state's tax system and other policies that affect the lives of low- and middle-income people in Massachusetts, visit massbudget.org. Or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

Sent by mrivera@massbudget.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact

In the News: Empty Bowls dinner scheduled for May 2; Tornado hits Food Pantry in Franklin, Texas

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

Empty Bowls dinner scheduled for May 2
"To help the more than 1,100 individuals seeking food assistance from the Franklin Food Pantry, the organization is partnering with the Franklin High School Empty Bowls Club tor the 4th Annual Empty Bowls Dinner on May 2, from 6–8 p.m. at Franklin High School, 218 Oak St., Franklin. 
The dinner event, which features a simple meal of soup and bread served “soup-kitchen” style, will set the stage for community members to join in support of the Franklin Food Pantry. The open house format welcomes attendees any time between 6 and 8 p.m. 
The event serves as a reminder of the many “empty bowls” that exist in the lives of those who experience hunger. The awareness and fundraising event is family-friendly and caters to all ages. 
According to Amy Cataldo, the pantry’s interim executive director, “Many in our community are unaware of the level of hunger that exists in our own backyard. The number of families counting on the Pantry is the highest it’s been in four years. The need is very real. The Empty Bowls Dinner is an opportunity for our community to support our neighbors in need.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
Empty Bowls dinner scheduled for May 2
Empty Bowls dinner scheduled for May 2

Tornado hits Franklin Food Pantry in Franklin, Texas
"One of the hardest hit buildings in the tornado that struck Franklin Saturday was the town's food pantry. 
"Right before it hit it was getting pretty stormy," says Jerry Redden was with a group from church inside the pantry when the tornado hit. 
"My wife Cheryl asked (a) preacher to pray for the safety." 
Many from the community showed up in hours after to help, including members from an Austin charity called 7 Slot Response."


Franklin, TX is about 145 miles south of Dallas.

More about the tornado that hit Franklin on Saturday, April 13

Monday, April 15, 2019

Taste of ArtWeek Festival Announces Food Truck Line Up

Taste of ArtWeek, a kick-off celebration to Franklin ArtWeek, announced today that it will feature nine food trucks from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. 

Five savory trucks will include iGottaQ BBQ, Away CafĂ© offering Thai and American favorites, Moe's Street Eats featuring Italian cuisine, The Dogfather's gourmet hot dogs, and The Cod Squad's award-winning seafood from Captain Marden's. 

Four sweet trucks include The Whoo(pie) Wagon's multiple flavors of whoopie pies, Sarcastic Sweets offering cupcakes, brownies, cake pops and cookies, Shishkaberry's famous chocolate-dipped strawberries and frozen cheesecake, and Like No Udder's vegan ice cream. 

Taste of ArtWeek is intended to give attendees a "taste" of what ArtWeek is all about. Food truck tickets are $20 for four items for adults and $10 for two items for kids. Tickets can be purchased at www.randomsmile.org/festival.

Taste of ArtWeek is on Saturday, April 27 from 4:00 - 8:00 PM, and will also include free live performances, a craft fair, and a demo and hands-on tent on the Franklin Town Common, as well as a beer and wine garden and a fine art exhibition across the street at Hayward Manor.

Taste of ArtWeek is being organized by the Franklin Cultural Council, in partnership with Random Smile Project charity. Proceeds from the event will benefit both organizations.

The Cod Squad's award-winning seafood from Captain Marden's - one of several food trucks to participate in Taste of ArtWeek
The Cod Squad's award-winning seafood from Captain Marden's -
one of several food trucks to participate in Taste of ArtWeek

Bellingham Community Garden Shares Opportunity for Residents to Grow Their Own Food - limited spots available

The Bellingham Community Garden, which is a collaboration between the Town of Bellingham and the Hockomock Area YMCA, is now accepting registrations for plot rentals. This is a great opportunity to tend your own garden this May through October.

Located at 200 Center Street in Bellingham, the community garden provides 10’ x 20’ plots (roughly), water and some gardening tools, and will run workshops throughout the season. Service learning opportunities can also be arranged for those wishing to volunteer in a community setting. The mission of the Bellingham Community Garden is to promote healthy and active lifestyles by reconnecting individuals to the food they eat and grow.

Plot holders can look forward to a season filled with farm-to-table produce, meeting new neighbors and friends, and engaging in different opportunities for learning.

The plot rental program is open to all community members and offers a gated garden in which members, provided a lock code, will be able to garden from dawn to dusk. The Hockomock YMCA will also facilitate soil testing through UMass Amherst for plot holders interested in optimizing food production.

Interested applicants are asked to fill out a contract, available at www.hockymca.org/garden/, or email communitygarden@hockymca.org to request a contract. Cost for the season is $75 and checks can be made out to Hockomock Area YMCA.

You may also stop by the YMCA at 45 Forge Hill Road, Franklin for details and a contract or call 508-528-8708. Be sure to visit the Bellingham Community Garden on facebook: @bellinghamcommunityfarm.

Bellingham Community Garden Shares Opportunity for Residents to Grow Their Own Food - limited spots available
Bellingham Community Garden Shares Opportunity for
Residents to Grow Their Own Food - limited spots available

About Hockomock Area YMCA: 
Where Cause Meets Community. At the Hockomock Area YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. The Hockomock Area YMCA is an organization of men, women, and children sharing a commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility.
Our YMCA is committed to partnering and collaborating with others to create and deliver lasting personal and social change in the 15 communities we are privileged to serve. The Hockomock Area YMCA is a not- for-profit charitable cause-driven organization with facilities in North Attleboro, Foxboro, Franklin, and Mansfield. For more information visit hockymca.org.

FHS baseball tops Mansfield 5-4 on Sunday

Via HockomockSportswe share the results of the FHS sports action on Sunday, Apr 14, 2019

"Baseball = Mansfield, 4 @ Franklin, 5 – Final
– Franklin junior Liam Dailey shined in relief, tossing four shutout innings to help the Panthers edge visiting Mansfield. The Hornets scored four runs over the first three innings but Dailey was nearly flawless in his four innings of work, allowing no hits, runs, or walks, striking out one with one hit batter. 

Mansfield went up 1-0 in the top of the second but Franklin responded with two runs in the bottom half. Dan Markowski knocked in Cooper Ross (2-for-3, run) to tie it, and Brennan Rivera plated JB Floris (2-for-2, RBI, run) to make it 2-1. Dan Saraceno blasted a two-run home run in the top of the third, highlighting a three-run inning for the Hornets. 

But once again, Franklin had an answer with three runs of its own. Jake Macchi plated two with a double to tie the game, and Floris brought Macchi home with a sacrifice fly for the winning-run."

The only result for the Hockomock League on Sunday

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers


Already missing great art at FPS after one day of vacation? We've got you covered! WATCH: "FPS SPRING ART HIGHLIGHTS"

27 Franklin residents scheduled to start the Boston Marathon

As the Boston Marathon gets underway on Monday, there are 27 Franklin residents scheduled to start this race. 16 men and 11 women with the following distribution by age group.

Age Group M W T
20's 4 3 7
30's 3 3 6
40's 7 1 8
50's 2 3 5
60's 0 1 1
16 11 27

27 Franklin residents scheduled to start the Boston Marathon - 2019
27 Franklin residents scheduled to start the Boston Marathon - 2019

For more info about the runners and the race visit BAA.org/ or go directly to

27 Franklin residents scheduled to start the Boston Marathon
27 Franklin residents scheduled to start the Boston Marathon

Disclosure: I am proud to be working for John Hancock, one of the major sponsors of the Boston Marathon.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephensherlock/

Video replay of April 9 School Committee meeting available

The School Committee meeting of April 9, 2019 is available for replay at your leisure. Thanks to Franklin TV for their work in recording and sharing.


screen grab of broadcast while reporting remotely
screen grab of broadcast while reporting remotely

My notes of the meeting and associated links to documents released for this session.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Franklin ArtWeek: Chestnut Street Revue - May 4

As part of Franklin’s ArtWeek this year, the Chestnut Street Revue will offer an evening of music on Saturday, May 4, from 7 - 9:30 PM at the First Universalist Society of Franklin, 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin, MA 02038. 

From jazz to classical, from rock and roll to acoustic guitar, this evening is sure to please everyone with its diversity and sheer entertainment value! Come see Franklin’s very own homegrown talent! 

The performance is free. During intermission, gourmet desserts will be available for purchase.

An open rehearsal will take place on Thursday, May 2 from 7 - 8:30 PM for a sneak preview of Saturday’s performance and behind-the-scenes access to sound engineers at work.

Franklin ArtWeek: Chestnut Street Revue - May 4
Franklin ArtWeek: Chestnut Street Revue - May 4

School Committee Recap - $2.3M in school budget cuts outlined, School Start timeline to change

I was in Toronto on a business trip this week and unable to full participate in the School Committee meeting. I did manage to tap into the web cast after the school budget discussion and near the beginning of the School Start Times discussion.

While the cable broadcast did cut out at 10:00 PM, the webcast did not. I did tune out at the end of the start times discussion approx 10:15 PM and miss the remaining of the meeting agenda. We'll all need to catch up to the Franklin TV rebroadcast when it is available.

Highlight: School Budget
Programs and positions amounting to $2.3 million were found to reduce the budget deficit. The details are listed in the links below. 

The budget is scheduled for vote by the School Committee at their Apr 23 meeting. The school budget is scheduled for review and discussion at the Finance Committee meeting Apr 25. The Finance Committee is also scheduled for a vote that night on the full Franklin budget to send to the Town Council.  

The Town Council has their two budget hearings scheduled for May 22 and 23. The Council meeting of May 8 is scheduled to be a discussion and update from our State legislation delegation (Representative Roy and Senators Rausch and Spilka).

Time is getting short for scheduling an override vote to occur before the July 1 FY 2020 budget year begins. Without an override vote scheduled, this means the school budget will need to absorb the $2.3 million identified (or something similar that amounts to the same total). It also means that the school budget which was originally proposed to meet critical needs (and acknowledged to not meet them all) will certainly increase the critical needs NOT being meet for our future generation.

Highlight: School Start Times
A number of folks stepped forward to comment for and against the school start time proposal. It was good to see so many showing up in person. Where were you all the past year? I hope you show as much engagement around the school budget (no matter what side you choose).

The Superintendent's proposal to formally close the Advisory Committee (a normal and expected action) along with the proposal to continue to work on the details for implementation is expected to be voted on at the Apr 23 meeting. The vote on a school start times proposal itself would not be until sometime later this year at the earliest. 

School budget page

Budget memo

$2.3M budget cuts outlined 

Other documents for the Apr 9 meeting packet can be found online

School Committee Recap - $2.3M in school budget cuts outlined, School Start timeline to change
School Committee Recap - $2.3M in school budget cuts
outlined, School Start timeline to change

FHS boys lacrosse tops Newton North 17-8 on Saturday

Via HockomockSportswe share the results of the FHS sports action on Saturday, Apr 13, 2019

Baseball = Mansfield @ Franklin – Postponed to 4/14 at 11:00.

Softball = Franklin, 0 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 3 – Final

Boys Lacrosse = Franklin, 17 vs. Newton North, 8 – Final 
– Owen Palmieri and Jake Davis each scored four goals and Matt Lazzaro had a hat trick, as the Panthers stayed unbeaten after their biggest test of the season so far. Will Davis made 13 saves in goal and Jacob Alexander (two goals) dominated the face-off ‘X’, winning 20-of-24 and losing only one of the 14 face-offs in the first half. 

Newton North scored a minute into the second quarter to close the gap to 5-4 but the Panthers rolled off an 11-2 run and scored 12 goals over the final 30 minutes of the game. Ben Greco fed Ben Kolb for a man-up goal to make it 6-4 and eight seconds later Alexander found Lazzaro for another goal. Kolb picked out Nitin Chaudhury with a great diagonal feed to add another score before half. 

Palmieri made it 9-4 early in the second with a goal while practically lying on the ground and the Panthers answered a Newton North goal by scoring twice in 11 seconds, first on a behind-the-back shot from Lazzaro and then Alexander went bar-down after another face-off win. Jake Davis and Palmieri added goals before the end of the third, both assisted by Greco, and Franklin had pulled away to lead 14-6 by the end of the third.

For a Photo Gallery from this game

For other results around the Hockomock League

Matt Lazzaro (4) and Own Palmieri (12) in action (HockomockSports photo)
Matt Lazzaro (4) and Own Palmieri (12) in action (HockomockSports photo)

Enjoy An Afternoon of Mah Jongg! - May 5

Please join us on Sunday, May 5, 2019, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM for an afternoon of Mah Jongg!

At the First Universalist Society of Franklin (FUSF), 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA 02038


  • Come alone or bring your regular group.
  • We will rotate tables throughout the day
  • All levels welcome, but some experience is required. You can request a beginner’s table
  • Be sure to bring your own 2019 NMJL card. $5 pie
  • Cost: $30, includes door prizes and light dinner after games (vegetarian and gluten-free options available upon request)

To Register:

  • Register by April 28, 2019 to reserve your spot.
  • Make $30 check out to “FUSF.” Please write “MahJongg” in the memo line.
  • Fill out registration form below
  • Mail check and registration form to: Katie Nunes, 93 Burnt Swamp Rd., Wrentham, MA 02093
  • If you prefer Venmo, send $30 to @KatieNunes and include registration info as a comment
  • Katie will confirm receipt via email and send you more details about the day.

Contact Katie Nunes at ktnunes2@gmail.com, or call 508-254-7918

Registration form and event flyer

Enjoy An Afternoon of Mah Jongg! - May 5
Enjoy An Afternoon of Mah Jongg! - May 5

MA House Ways and Means Budget released April 10

"To the Members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives: 
With this document, the House Committee on Ways and Means presents its recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2020 General Appropriations Act. The Committee’s proposal makes fiscally responsible decisions and targeted investments that allow the Massachusetts economy to continue to grow and diversify. This is a budget that funds the commitments of our present and invests in the promise of our future. 
For much of FY 2019, the Commonwealth’s tax collections have varied considerably. In November of 2018 the State’s returns were $400 million above the benchmarks agreed to during the Consensus Revenue process. By the end of February of 2019 the State’s returns were nearly $300 million below benchmarks. This swing is likely due to volatility in the stock market, the 24 day shutdown of the Federal government, and recent changes to the Federal tax code. While our economy remains strong and our overall fiscal situation is strong, going into Fiscal Year 2020 we must remain cautious with the understanding that the revenue picture remains unclear. 
This budget delivers on our shared commitment to the cities and towns we represent. It provides a $29.6 million increase to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) and over $235 million in increased funding for Chapter 70 education aid. This is also a budget that recognizes that local aid goes beyond those two accounts, and continues to make investments in funding for Regional School Transportation and the state’s share of the Special Education Circuit Breaker. 
This budget would also reform the way that local school districts receive transitional aid as a result of students who switch to a charter school. These reforms will result in quicker, more reliable funding from the State with no loss in actual funds."

Continue reading the Chairman's Letter

For those closely following the MA budget cycle, this is the second major step in the process. The Governor issues his budget in January (H1). This is the Ways and Means budget. The Senate will release their budget approx. in May. After the House and Senate have each finalized their versions, both get together in Conference to work out the 'final' budget that goes to the Governor for his approval theoretically before July 1, 2019.

This House Ways and Means budget is usually more than the Governors' budget and what Franklin looks for to use for their own calculations on our local budget. This tends to be closer to the 'final' amount we can count on (but stay tuned for changes up or down in some of the amounts as the work in the Legislature continues).

the MA budget cycle
the MA budget cycle

In the Executive Summary section

"The House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal invests significantly in aid to cities and towns across the Commonwealth. For FY 2020, the Committee proposes increasing the Unrestricted General Government Aid by $29.7M to $1.129B. The Committee also proposes funding Chapter 70 aid to school districts at $5.125B, a $218 M increase over the FY19 GAA. Acknowledging the significant costs that districts face, the Committee invests $73.8M for regional school transportation, and also increases district aid for charter school payments to $113M, a $23M increase over FY19 GAA, while modernizing the funding formula to better align dollars with need.
  • Provides $1.129B for UGGA
  • Provides $5.125B for Chapter 70 aid
  • Provides $329M for Circuit Breaker Special Education reimbursement
  • Provides $73.9M for Regional School Transportation reimbursement
  • Provides $113M for Charter School reimbursement"
House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal - Executive Summary
House Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal - Executive Summary
While the increases are good, they won't solve Franklin's problem with the School budget shortfall

Franklin Library: April Vacation Week Updates for 2019

April Vacation Week Updates

The Franklin Public Library will be closed Monday, April 15 for Patriots' Day. 
Starting Tuesday, April 16, the Library has fun April Vacation Week programs planned!
wally the green monster and world series trophy
Wally the Green Monster visits with the World Series trophy, Tues Apr 16
Book Bites - a monthly event for tweens (those 8 and under)
Book Bites - a monthly event for tweens (those 8 and under), Tues Apr 16
Animal Affair - Weds Apr 17
Animal Affair - Weds Apr 17
Mr. Vinny Shadow Puppet Show
Mr. Vinny Shadow Puppet Show - Thu Apr 18
Peter Rabbit egg hunt
Peter Rabbit egg hunt, Fri Apr 19
catch your breath with guided meditation
catch your breath with guided meditation, Fri Apr 19
Family Yoga Adventure
Family Yoga Adventure, Sat Apr 20

"Ben is still only in puppy kindergarten"

From the Boston Globe, an article of interest for Franklin:
"In a Franklin elementary school, a young boy with special needs was screaming and crying. Nobody could comfort him, not even his teachers or a police officer who was called to help. 
Just as the situation verged on uncontrollable, the newest member of the police department arrived on the scene. The presence of Ben Franklin, a 5-month-old golden retriever puppy, immediately calmed the child. 
“As soon as we brought Ben, the boy looked at the officer and snapped out of it. He said ‘Can I pet him?’ and the officer said ‘Yes, if you’re good,’” said Mark Manocchio, a lieutenant in the Franklin Police Department. “The teachers and police couldn’t calm him down, but he saw the dog and it was like magic.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Ben was introduced to the Town Council
Ben was introduced to the Town Council

and Ben was introduced to the School Committee
and Ben was introduced to the School Committee