MassAccess Daily Updates on COVID-19
SCTV is beginning this new service on activities in Massachusetts related to COVID-19. It is distributed by MassAccess, our community media membership organization.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
As of Monday night, DPH reported a total of 451,535 cases of COVID-19.
The state reported 3,224 new confirmed cases.
The state has now confirmed a total of 13,424 deaths from the virus.
The state’s first large-scale vaccination site, at Gillette Stadium, is slated to open to first responders on Monday.
Shots became available to first responders this week, and the next portion of phase one is set to begin next week, with vaccinations starting in congregate care settings including shelters, group homes and correctional facilities.
Governor Baker said he anticipates there will be four or five such mass vaccination sites set up around the state by the end of the month.
Massachusetts would need more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to fully inoculate everybody in the first phase of the Baker administration’s three-tiered plan, Governor Baker said Friday.
A Thursday report from the Department of Public Health shows that, as of Tuesday, a total of 347,450 doses had been shipped to Massachusetts, and 239,147 of those doses, a little more than two-thirds, have been administered.
State budget writers have agreed to build fiscal 2022 spending plans on the assumption that state tax revenues will grow by 3.5 percent over upgraded projections for the current fiscal year, signaling that the damage done to the state’s finances by the COVID-19 pandemic may not be as severe as once thought.
The estimate of $30.12 billion in state revenue for the budget year that starts July 1 amounts to about $1.03 billion more in revenue than the updated projection for the current fiscal year, roughly 3.5 percent growth.
But the forecast announced on Friday is still $1.03 billion less than the $31.15 billion pre-pandemic estimate the same group of officials made for fiscal year 2021 revenue a year ago.
The so-called “consensus revenue estimate” for fiscal 2022 was announced by Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues and House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz.
In conjunction with the FY22 revenue accord announcement, Heffernan on Friday revised the fiscal 2021 revenue estimate upward by $700 million after revenues over the first half of the fiscal year increased by $372 million or 2.7 percent from what was collected during the first six months of fiscal 2020 that were entirely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When combined with a $459 million markup the administration announced Dec. 11, the Baker administration in the last month has boosted its estimate of available revenues this fiscal year by $1.16 billion.
The administration is now projecting total fiscal 2021 revenue of $29.09 billion.
Governor Baker is expected to file his FY22 budget proposal on Jan. 27 based on the new revenue estimate of $30.12 billion.
The House and Senate will redraft Governor Baker’s spending blueprint and debate their own versions, likely in April and May.
Fiscal year 2022 begins on July 1.
The slots parlor and casinos in Massachusetts cumulatively generated $49.83 million in gaming revenue in December and will turn about $14.6 million of their earnings over to the state, the Gaming Commission said Friday.
December’s revenue haul for Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor represents an increase of about $4.38 million, or 9.6 percent, over November but is still down nearly $19 million, or 27.5 percent, from what the gaming centers pulled in during October, the last full month before casinos became required to close by 9:30 p.m. each night.
Of December’s gross gaming revenue, the state is due $14.66 million, up about $1.5 million from November but still $5 million less than the $19.6 million in taxes generated in October.
Fees on ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft will not increase in Massachusetts after Governor Baker vetoed a new proposed fee structure while signing a $16.5 billion transportation bond bill on Friday.
Governor Baker gave his approval to almost all of the multi-year spending authorizations, but rejected several major transportation policy proposals that the Legislature packed into the wide-ranging bill.
He shot down proposed hikes on transportation network companies, or TNCs, that would have replaced the current 20-cent flat fee per ride with a higher set of fees as well as a new legislative mandate requiring the MBTA to offer a low-income fare program.
Governor Baker signed off on 14 more local bills on Thursday:
H 5092 authorizing Holliston to establish an economic development funding program and fund;
S 2970 authorizing Tewksbury to grant seven licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages to be drunk on the premises;
S 2987 sick leave bank for Kathryn Price, an employee of the Department of Mental Health;
S 2290 providing for recall elections in East Bridgewater;
H 5212 authorizing the sale of property in Brockton;
H 5166 designating a bridge in Hanson in memory of Mary “Gret” Lozeau;
H 5211 authorizing the lease of land in the town of Oak Bluffs to the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group Inc. for shellfish propagation and other fisheries resources research and management activities;
S 2915 authorizing the town of Scituate to use certain conservation land for general municipal purposes;
H 4115 authorizing the City of Boston to limit buildings according to their use or construction to specified districts;
H 5034 authorizing the termination of the motor vehicle fine revolving fund in the town of Whitman;
H 5046 relative to the town of Plymouth Environmental Affairs Fund;
S 2838 making the position of treasurer-collector an appointed position in the town of Lakeville;
S 2908 relative to the appointment of an acting town manager in the town of Ipswich;
H 5077 establishing the Tri-Town Water District