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  • 💸 A $56 billion dollar question, answered

💸 A $56 billion dollar question, answered

Plus: 🍝 Eastie’s new pasta spot

It’s Monday, Boston.

🚴 Friendly reminder: Bluebikes are free every Monday this month. Just open the Bluebikes app and enter today’s code to get moving: BLUECROSS0814. You’re welcome.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Open your homes

  • Free tampons

  • Caught plastic-handed

Up first...


New budget, who dis?

Image: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff. Illustration: Emily Schario.

How would you spend $56 billion? Mass. lawmakers have spent nearly eight months asking themselves that question. And after three proposals, a little political drama, and 40 days into the state’s fiscal year, Gov. Healey officially signed her admin’s first state budget last week.

Here are a few notable items that made the cut, along with some that didn’t:


🎓 Free community college. If you’re 25 or older or looking to pursue a nursing degree, the cost of any in-state community college will be covered by next fall. The decision behind the latter is a direct response to the shortage of nurses in Mass. post-COVID.

🧑‍🎓 High schoolers who are undocumented can apply for in-state college tuition. As long as they’ve attended school in Mass. for at least three years or have their GED, in-state tuition is fair game for all students.

🥪 Free lunch in all public schools. This makes Mass. the eighth state to cover lunch costs for all public-school children.

🚃 Boston’s first seat on the MBTA’s board of directors. Yes, Boston, the state’s largest city which heavily depends on the T, didn’t already have a seat. Mayor Wu will now be able to appoint a member to the board, which oversees big T decisions and initiatives.

💰 How to spend the millionaires tax money. As proposed in the ballot initiative, the $1 billion in projected revenue will be pretty evenly split between supporting education and transportation measures: $522 million for education and $477 million for transportation (including $205 million specifically for the T).


✍️ Healey vetoed over $200 million in spending. Which, relatively speaking, is pretty light. The cuts are spread across a variety of line items, including trims to adult mental health and support services, Head Start grants, and emergency aid for the elderly, people with disabilities, and children. That said, these items will still receive millions of dollars in funding.

📱 Making phone calls free for those who are incarcerated. Healey supports the issue, but wants to delay implementing a change to Dec. 1 to avoid the headaches of making retroactive reimbursements and give the Dept. of Correction time to figure out how to absorb the costs.

🤑 Tax relief program. The budget sets aside $580 million for the first year of a tax relief plan, but the details of said plan are still being worked out. Passing tax reform in Mass. has always been a struggle (remember Gov. Baker’s proposed tax cuts getting tossed last year?). But whenever it passes, it will certainly feel like the opening line of The Eras Tour: A long time coming.

👀 That’s not all. Read up on what else did (and didn’t) make the cut here.


💰 Which budget item is the most interesting to you?

Let us know below!

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Quick & dirty headlines

Haitian families in the playroom of a shelter in Boston on last week. Image: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff.

🏠 Gov. Healey is asking residents to open their homes to migrants. As part of her state of emergency declaration re: the state’s shelter crisis, Healey is calling on those who are willing and able to open their doors to homeless families and migrants as the state’s shelter system is at capacity. If you’re interested, first you have to be vetted by the Brazilian Worker Center, which is matching volunteers with incoming migrants. You can start the process by calling 211 or emailing [email protected].

🩸 Six Boston Public Library branches will provide free pads and tampons. Boston’s menstruating population can now breathe a sigh of relief: The city and the library just launched a menstrual equity pilot program, offering free menstrual products in ALL bathrooms at six BPL branches to start: Brighton, Codman Square, East Boston, North End, Mattapan, and Roxbury. This is Boston's latest attempt to end period poverty in the city, with the ultimate goal of expanding access in all public buildings.

🚃 Medford teens hacked their CharlieCards for free T rides. They learned everything they know from MIT students who pulled a similar stunt back in 2008, and took it a step further by figuring out how to add any amount of money to a CharlieCard and invisibly designating them as student, senior, or MBTA employee cards. But unlike the MIT kids who got sued by the MBTA, the T invited them to present on the vulnerabilities they found … and politely asked them to make it harder for other hackers to replicate.

🍝 A beloved Italian restaurant just opened in Eastie. MIDA East Boston opened its doors across the harbor last week, joining the original South End hangout and its glossy Newton outpost. The new restaurant has gorgeous waterfront views of Boston’s skyline, which is partly why chef-owner Douglass Williams wanted to open it in the first place. (He said it’s like being in Brooklyn and looking at Manhattan.) The Eastie menu will remain largely the same — lots of pasta and pizza — but there’s one exception: the clam pizza, which is worth a trip.


Weekday plans

Image courtesy of Citrus & Salt. Illustration: Emily Schario.

🍹 Marry your love of dogs and daiquiris. Citrus & Salt is hosting the “Dog Days of Summer” mixology class with beverage director Sarah Heimreid tonight! Plus, $5 of your ticket supports the pups of the MSPCA.

😂 Laugh and eat like a kid again. The Thirsty Scholar’s Monday night comedy kicks off at 8 p.m. (no cover!). And adult happy meals are on the menu: a burger, fries, a Miller High Life, and a secret surprise.

🍿 Get comfy with an outdoor film. Coolidge Corner Theater continues its “Science on Screen” series on Greenway this Wednesday with It Came From Outer Space in 35mm.

👟 Paint your own kicks in Southie. J Lenore Designs is hosting a custom sneaker paint night at Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar on Wednesday. Just bring your own white, leather-based, or canvas sneakers, and an appetite.

🎤 Experience social justice through spoken word. Boston’s Activating Art series kicks off Thursday at City Hall Plaza, where topics like reproductive justice, free speech, and reparations will be explored through spoken word poetry.


Caught plastic-handed

Image: Mass. State Police. Illustration: Emily Schario.

The Mass. State Police would like to remind drivers that HOV lanes are reserved for two or more human passengers. Emphasis on the human.

The police posted a photo on Facebook last week of a stopped Mercedes-Benz, which had a mannequin (albeit, an incredibly well dressed one) strapped into the front passenger seat. The driver was stopped in Southie after she was spotted driving in the HOV lane.

In addition to mannequins, police also used this opportunity to remind folks that dogs won’t send you over the HOV threshold either. This is deeply upsetting news for area millennials.

😂 Thanks for reading! OK, but you’ve got to give that lady an “A” for effort.

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