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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Baker delivers final State of the Commonwealth address

Courtesy of Joshua_Qualls via Flickr
Charlie Baker at a press conference

Governor Charlie Baker took the stage for his eighth and final State of the Commonwealth address to discuss new tax breaks and closing loopholes for violent offenders.

Baker turned to issues he planned to address before his term ends in January 2023.

Baker spoke of closing loopholes that allow those charged with violent crimes or prior records to walk freely before their trials. He said in the address that these loopholes allow abusers to put their survivors at risk. 

“It would be impossible to listen to those stories and walk away feeling that the Commonwealth is protecting those women,” Baker said. 

Baker said he plans to file new legislation that would not only protect physical abuse survivors but also boost penalties for individuals who distributed illicit pictures. Baker plans to allot $123 million to furthering this cause. 

He also spoke on new tax cuts for certain populations in the Commonwealth, including low income earners, seniors, renters, parents, estates and investors. 

According to WBUR, low income earners will “align the state’s ‘no tax status’ threshold with federal levels, effectively eliminating income taxes for 230,000 residents.” 

If the plan is passed, low-income seniors would be eligible for a double tax credit, while renters would go from a cap of $3,000 to $5,000 in rental claims. 

Parents would also be able to double the state’s dependent care tax credit for households with children under 12 years of age.

According to NBC Boston, the planned tax relief will save taxpayers almost $700 million.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito had a chance to say goodbye, as her time in office comes to an end alongside Baker’s.

Polito spoke of her accomplishments with Baker during their term. In particular, she discussed the Community Compact Cabinet, which facilitated a direct relationship and line of communication between the local government and the cities it served, she said.

Though Polito spoke of their accomplishments, she noted how the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Commonwealth and country like nothing before. 

“Before COVID disrupted every facet of our daily lives, we were flying high. A record number of people working, education outcomes on the rise,” Polito said. “There was no playbook for the unprecedented crisis of this pandemic.” 

Baker, much like Polito, spoke of his accomplishments while in office.This included a fight against opioid addiction, the Student Opportunity Act, one of the largest fiscal safety nets in the country, an upcoming commuter rail from Fall River and New Bedford to Boston and much more. 

Baker addressed how the city of Boston handled COVID, from sheltering in place to subsequent vaccination numbers when vaccines became available. He commended towns for ideas like ‘share the streets’ that were in place, allowing restaurants to have space for outdoor seating and for pedestrians to be able to safely walk the streets.

Baker came full circle to end his address.

“This time next year, it will be these opportunities to partner with the great people in this room and across this amazing state who want nothing more than to leave it better than they found it for those who come after them,” Baker said. “Let’s get to work.” 

In attendance at the Hynes Convention Center were notable politicians such as Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Former Mayor of Boston Kim Janey and members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate.

Follow Ashley on Twitter @ashleyfairchi14

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About the Contributor
Ashley Fairchild
Ashley Fairchild, Asst. Copy Editor | she/her
Ashley is a senior majoring in print/web Journalism. Outside of Suffolk, she can typically still be found with her nose in a book and her hand wrapped around a coffee mug. She enjoys lifting weights, finding new cafes and most importantly, playing with her dog, Pepper.
Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyFairchi14

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Baker delivers final State of the Commonwealth address