, Salem, MA

November 8, 2013

Our view: Cheers, jeers for recent newsmakers

The Salem News

---- — Stay with us on this one, but CHEERS to the state’s recent uptick in income tax collections.

Why is it good news that the state will likely bring in $12 billion in income tax revenue this year? Well, as the Boston Business Journal explains it, the robust rate of collection this year will likely trigger a tax cut next year.

“According to a state law passed in 2002,” the Business Journal writes, the state’s income tax rate is set to automatically adjust down by 0.05 percentage points if certain collection benchmarks are met. These triggers will remain in place until a minimum income-tax threshold of 5 percent is reached.”

So, be happy — you’ve likely been taxed into a tax cut, though we’re sure lawmakers are already looking for ways to recoup the “lost” state revenue. It won’t be lost, of course. It will be back where it belongs — in the pockets of taxpayers.

JEERS to the “pranksters” who take up valuable police and fire department time — and put residents’ lives in danger — with hoax phone calls to the police.

Police and firefighters were dispatched to a Hale Street home three times last weekend for what turned out to be false reports. The first time, emergency personnel were told a woman at the residence wasn’t breathing; another time, responders were told someone was trapped in a fire.

And last week, six Greater Boston Kmart stores received bomb threats. The Massachusetts State Police bomb squad investigated threats at Kmarts in Acton, Braintree, Lowell, Milford, Saugus and Somerville, but no devices were found.

Here’s hoping the perpetrators in both cases are found and prosecuted soon.

CHEERS to the Cunningham family of Salem for their dedication to the democratic process. Three generations of the family served as poll workers at the Ward 4, Precinct 2, voting station at Witchcraft Heights Elementary School Tuesday.

Joanne Cunningham, 81, is the precinct warden. Her daughter, Catie Cunninghan-Dee, is the clerk. And this year, 19-year-old Robert Dee, Catie’s son and Joanne’s grandson, worked as poll inspector, checking off registered voters as they came and went.

“It’s a long day, but a wonderful day,” Joanne Cunningham said. “I wish I could do it once a week.”

While we’re at it, let’s add a hearty CHEERS to poll workers who volunteered in all three cities — Salem, Beverly and Peabody — last week. The process couldn’t take place without them.

JEERS to the impending demise of Building 19, which filed for Chapter 19 bankruptcy protection last week.

The discount warehouse chain, known for its catchphrase “Good stuff cheap,” was a New England tradition, drawing deal-seekers to its 10 stores spread across the region. You walked into a Building 19 store not knowing what you would be carrying out — it could be anything from a fine rug to a snowboard to a 1970s-style leisure suit.

Competition from the Internet made it tough for the company, which had trouble keeping enough working capital on hand to quickly snap up inventory and overstocks for resale.

We’re sad to see another New England institution go by the wayside.

CHEERS, finally, to two locals making it good in the world of sports.

First, no one should be surprised to learn Meghan Duggan of Danvers has been named captain of the U.S. women’s hockey national team. She’ll serve in that role leading up to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

A three-time national champion at Wisconsin, Duggan is no stranger to high-level hockey. The forward has 33 goals and 23 assists for Team USA since 2007, helping the squad earn a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

And Hamilton’s Michael Carter-Williams had a memorable NBA debut for the Philadelphia 76ers Halloween night, scoring 22 points and recording 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds, as the Sixers upset LeBron James and the Miami Heat, 114-110. The nine steals are a record for a debuting player.