... Sen. Spilka's leadership team: Creem, Brownsberger, Chandler, Lovely, Barrett, DiDomenico, Rush, Cyr ...... Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport tapped by Spilka to chair Ways and Means Committee ...... Lewis takes over for Chang-Diaz as Education Committee chair, with issue at top of early 2019 agenda ...... Sen. Friedman takes leadership of Health Care Financing as lawmakers revisit major health care bill ...... Lynn Democrat Sen. Brendan Crighton to chair Housing Committee as lawmakers explore production bill options ...... Chang-Diaz takes over Marijuana Policy Committee chair from Sen. Jehlen ...... First-term Sens. Comerford to chair Public Health, Rausch Municipalities, and Kennedy Tourism Committee ...... Sen. Eric Lesser takes over Ethics Committee, which Rodrigues chaired last session ...... Brownsberger to chair Redistricting Committee as state prepares for decennial census ...... Baker visiting family in Florida for rest of week ...... Report: cost of traffic congestion, in hours and $$$, higher in Boston than any other city ...... Gas prices fall to 18-month low as MBTA considers hitting riders with another round of fare hikes ...... Business confidence in Massachusetts slips to lowest level since October 2016 ...... Baker ending February with trip to NGA winter meetings, address to Boston Chamber of Commerce ...... Mass. Lottery poised to open new headquarters in Dorchester on Feb. 19 ...... Boston-area tunnels, highway systems need $1.6 billion in work ...... Warren officially launches presidential bid and Moulton says he's thinking about getting in the race ...... ...
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ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)


By Colin A. Young

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 5, 2018.....Hoping to show that Massachusetts has been responsible since getting whacked with a bond rating downgrade last year, Treasurer Deb Goldberg on Wednesday proposed state fiscal managers bring their message directly to the rating agencies.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said she's ready for another "roadshow" to meet with credit rating agencies in New York. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

S&P Global Ratings lowered its rating for Massachusetts bonds to AA from AA+ in June 2017, largely due to the state diverting money from its stabilization fund while the economy was growing. In remarks to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, Goldberg said rating agencies now need to know that the state's rainy day fund has surpassed a $2 billion balance for the first time since fiscal 2008.

"It is now time again ... for the secretary and his folks, the governor, myself and my debt people to go back down to New York and see them again just to re-highlight all of the things that we do and why we feel we're in a good position to manage and handle our fiscal health," she said.

She referenced a June 2016 trip that she, Gov. Charlie Baker and then-Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore took to meet with S&P, Moody's and Fitch in New York City.

She added, "So Secretary [Michael] Heffernan, get ready because I'm going to be recommending another roadshow."

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez asked how the state can "better communicate our fiscal strength to the outside world," and Goldberg said state financial managers need to better explain how Massachusetts operates. She cited mechanisms the state has to automatically direct money to the rainy day fund and the fact that other states pass debt on to county and local governments.

"We do not do that and we are clear about articulating that, though we don't seem to get credit for that," she said.

Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan told Goldberg on Wednesday that he's up for the trip.

"We have a great story to tell," he said. "I'm happy to drive."


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