Weekly Political Report – week ending 8/19/11

Elizabeth Warren Forms Exploratory Panel

Harvard law professor and previous nominee to head the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday to establish an exploratory committee as she considers a run in the 2012 U.S. Senate race to challenge Senator Scott Brown. Exploratory committees are used by potential candidates to raise money for travel, polling and other activities as they consider a potential campaign. Warren, who was named Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury by President Obama to help create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) established under the Dodd-Frank Act, also launched a website – www.elizabethforma.com – as a portal for voters to make a donation to the committee.

According to Warren’s spokesman Kyle Sullivan (former communications director to Gov. Patrick), “Elizabeth has spent the last week listening to people from across the Commonwealth as she considers a campaign for the U.S. Senate. She wants to continue this conversation and the exploratory committee will assist her in doing so.” Warren has been participating in house parties across the state, visiting New Bedford, Brockton, Arlington, Dorchester, Lexington, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge. She plans to travel to Framingham, Shrewsbury, Springfield, Pittsfield, the Cape and the North Shore in the coming days and weeks.

According to Warren’s advisors, Warren will announce her final decision about a potential campaign after Labor Day. There are currently six declared Democrats in the race seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in 2012: City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Somerville activist Bob Massie, State Representative Tom Conroy of Wayland, Salem immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco, and Newton engineer Herb Robinson. Former State Sen. Warren Tolman announced this week that he would not enter the race.
Mid-August Tax Collections Stagnate

Revenue Commissioner Navjeet Bal reported this week that mid-August tax collections are down $31 million compared to the same period last year. Through Aug. 15, tax collections totaled $584 million. The state’s benchmark for the month projects collections of $1.44 billion, an increase of $53 million or 3.8 percent. In a letter to the Legislature, Commissioner Bal said that lower withholding and sales tax collections were partly offset by higher corporate and business tax payments over the first two weeks of August. Withholding taxes through mid-August were down $38 million from the same period in August 2010.
Boston Area Prices Increase

On Thursday the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index, which measures changes in the prices of food, clothing, shelter and other goods and services, has risen 3.4 percent over the past year for the Boston area. This is slightly lower than the 3.6 percent rise nationally. The bureau’s regional office also reported that higher gas prices had driven a 23.6 percent increase in the area’s energy prices over the past year.


Unemployment Rate in Massachusetts Holds Steady
The unemployment rate in Massachusetts held steady at 7.6 percent in July, despite the addition of 12,700 seasonal jobs. The state’s jobless count, which is 1.5% below the national rate of 9.1%, has remained constant for the last three months. Massachusetts added 56,800 jobs since July 2010 for a growth rate of 1.8 percent. While job gains were reported in education, health services, trade, transportation, and utilities, job losses were recorded in the information, construction and leisure and hospitality sectors. The Patrick administration advised that methodological changes implemented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this year are causing “volatile changes” to monthly job estimates.



John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301



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