Baker works to close state’s budget gap
Gov. Charlie Baker is working with state lawmakers to close an estimated gap in the new state budget of up to $750 million.
The Republican said yesterday he’s spoken with leaders in the Democratic-controlled Legislature about the projected slowdown in tax collections.
Baker says those projections reflect an estimated drop-off of between $450 million and $750 million in revenues compared to original estimates for the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Baker says the number is relatively small considering that the entire budget is about $40 billion.
He also says that it’s easier to close the gap at the beginning of the fiscal year rather than halfway through it.
Lawmakers are still trying to hammer out a final compromise budget to send to Baker.
Record year for Mass. maple syrup
Massachusetts maple syrup producers have had a second consecutive record-breaking year.
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association announced yesterday that according to federal statistics the state produced 77,000 gallons of syrup in 2016, 2,000 gallons more than 2015’s record-setting yield.
Massachusetts ranks eighth among 13 maple syrup-producing states. Vermont led the nation with nearly 2 million gallons produced.
The primary reasons for the production spike were a long season and a relatively warm winter punctuated by deep freezes in February and March that kept the sap running.
Also, Bay State producers added 5,000 taps in 2016 and many have increased efficiency by installing modern equipment and adopting methods that help boost yield.
The state has more than 250 producers who tap more than 300,000 trees.
R.I. bans sale of shark fins
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed into law a ban on selling shark fins.
The Democrat signed the legislation Monday.
The law takes effect in January and makes it a crime in Rhode Island to own or sell a shark fin unless it’s used for scientific research or in preparing a shark for ordinary consumption.
Rhode Island will become the 11th state to ban the sale of shark fins.
Hawaii was the first in 2010. Massachusetts has also banned it.
Shark fin soup is popular in Chinese cuisine but animal rights activists say the practice of slicing off a shark’s fin and leaving the fish to die is cruel.
The Humane Society of the United States says the laws will help global shark populations recover.
• Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for May.
• Federal Reserve releases industrial production for May.
• Federal Reserve policymakers meet to set interest rates.