Baker, Warren diverge on GOP tax bill

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With a major overhaul of the federal tax code now sitting on President Donald Trump's desk, Gov. Charlie Baker gave the bill that passed Congress without a single Democratic vote mixed reviews Wednesday after drawing criticism from one of his re-election challengers.

"Certain provisions that would adversely affect Massachusetts appear to have been mitigated and the Governor appreciates that the bill secures tax breaks for middle and low income earners, but the administration is concerned about the hurried process resulting in lack of bipartisan support," Baker spokesman Brendan Moss said.

Baker, a Republican, had been critical of efforts to eliminate the state and local income and property tax deduction, which was instead capped in the final bill at $10,000. Secretary of State William Galvin said even with the cap homeowners in some high-priced communities like Newton and Brookline will be harmed.

Moss said the governor is also worried about the tax bill's impact on colleges and universities, and is concerned about the possibility of future federal spending cuts to pay for the tax breaks in the bill.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren, however, called the tax bill "disastrous" and blamed Baker for aiding the national GOP tax push.

Warren, the mayor of Newton, has been highly critical of Baker's fundraising partnership with the Republican National Committee. A report Tuesday by Morning Consult highlighted efforts by local RNC affiliates in 18 battleground states to sell the Republican tax plan to voters through mail, door-knocking and phone calls.

"Donald Trump and D.C. Republicans should thank Charlie Baker for his support of the Republican effort to pass this terrible bill that will hurt Massachusetts families," Warren in a statement Tuesday.

Baker political aides have defended the fundraising partnership that over time has results in hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing back into the Massachusetts Republican Party, but the governor drew criticism for arrangement earlier this month when the RNC resumed its financial support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

"It's clear that Donald Trump controls how the Republican Party spends the money Baker raises for it, and that makes Charlie Baker complicit in Trump's agenda," Warren said.


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