Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Massachusetts contemplates lobster restrictions to save whales … Country music star was paid $1.7 million to perform at Texas governor’s inaugural ball … Kansas mayor resigned after mask threats.
Atlantic City is hoping to raise significant dollars off people’s passions about President Trump, auctioning off the right to push the button when the city implodes the now-defunct Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino building. Mayor Marty Small Sr. said the money raised through the auction will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. While Small said he wants to collect $1 million for the group, the highest bid as of Thursday afternoon stood at $7,500. Trump Plaza has been closed since 2014, one year after it was sold off by the Trump organization for just $20 million at a time when it had become the worst performing casino in the city. But Small recalled that in his childhood the casino had been a fixture of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, hosting major events. “Trump Plaza was the place that hosted all the major sporting events. Mike Tyson fights. I remember as a kid going to Wrestlemania IV and V,” he said. Since then, the place has fallen into disrepair. The mayor also noted that the president had made some disparaging comments about his time in the casino business in Atlantic City. “Some of Atlantic City's iconic moments happened there, but on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” Small said. The demolition is currently scheduled for February. [Philadelphia Inquirer; Associated Press]
BIDEN EPA PICK | President-elect Joe Biden indicated on Thursday that he would nominate Michael Regan, the top environmental official in North Carolina, to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [The New York Times]
LIMITED LOBSTER FISHING | In order to protect the North Atlantic right whale, Massachusetts is considering banning lobster fishing when the endangered species feeds in the region. Lobstermen would be prohibited from setting traps between February and May and required to use special rope that doesn’t trap the whales. There are only about 350 right whales left. Lobstermen said the restrictions would be economically devastating. “You’re affecting real families with these closures,” said Mike Lane. [Boston Globe]
MASK POLITICS | The mayor of Dodge City, Kansas resigned this week after facing threats following comments she made about a local mask mandate. "We just felt like we had to do something so everybody was aware of how important it was for everybody to be responsible for each other’s health and well-being," Joyce Warshaw was quoted as saying in a USA Today article in early December. After that remark was reported, Warshaw said she received phone and email threats from Dodge City citizens and feared for her safety. “This is harder for me than people realize,” Warshaw said of her resignation. “I really love this city with all my heart. [USA Today, Dodge City Daily Globe]
TAXES | Washington Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a new tax on capital gains as part of a budget plan he outlined on Thursday. The tax proposal is sure to be controversial and will likely spark a court battle if lawmakers approve it. Critics say the tax would violate income tax prohibitions enshrined in state law. Inslee's plan calls for a 9% tax on capital gains earnings above $25,000 for individuals or $50,000 for joint filers. [The Seattle Times, Associated Press]
INAUGURAL BALL | Gov. Greg Abbott’s inaugural committee paid $1.7 million for country star George Strait to headline the inaugural ball. The event in total spent a record-setting $5.3 million, according to documents the Texas Tribune received after filing a lawsuit to obtain them through the state’s public records law. [Texas Tribune]