Massachusetts Blows the Trump Boom Windfall

You know that boom in hiring, investment, manufacturing taking place all over the nation that has resulted in expansion for business and bonus’ for employees everywhere? Well Massachusetts has taken decisive steps to put an end to all that.

On June 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill titled “An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday” (H.4640). The new law, dubbed the “Grand Bargain,” implements incremental increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage over the next five years, and creates a new paid family and medical leave program in the Commonwealth. A full text of the bill can be found here.

Minimum Wage Increase
The law increases the minimum wage from $11.00 to $15.00 over the course of five years. In 2019, the minimum wage will increase from $11.00 to $12.00. Thereafter, it will continue to increase each year in $0.75 increments until it reaches $15 in 2023. The Grand Bargain also results in a five-year phase out of the requirement of premium pay for hours worked on Sunday

Six months ago if you were a Massachusetts business, you were thinking about how you would use those tax cuts to grow your business, now you are thinking if you have 50 employees you are going to have to make sure you can generate an extra $100,000 next year and $400,000 by 2023 to cover the wage increases for those fifty folks, not to mention the taxes that come along with it.

So while business in other states take advantage of both the Trump boom and the Trump tax cut to expand their production, modernize equipment, bring in new workers, pay bonuses to reward their best workers businesses in Massachusetts are going to have to think twice before taking any steps knowing those low skill workers will add $8000 to the debt side of their ledger each.

And it’s worse than it sounds because while in a one party state like Massachusetts there is absolutely no prospect of this higher minimum wage being reversed, there is always the chance that the Trump boom might be curtailed by a Democrat victory in November of this year or in 2020 and of course as the Trump Tax rates aren’t permanent it’s very possible either a victorious Democrat or a feckless GOP congress will choose to let them die.

Massachusetts voters may have overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton but they had better pray that Donald Trump stays where he is with a GOP congress because once the Trump boom and the Tax cuts end, so will the jobs that this economy has produced and discover that the true minimum wage remains constant at zero.

If you are a young person or someone starting a family the time to get out of this state is now.

Interviews with Immigrants Alvin from El Salvador, Maria from the Dominican Republic, Christian from Puerto Rico

Maria and Christian

The latest pair in my “interviews with immigrants” series is now up.

First I spoke to Alvin, he is in his mid 20’s and comes from El Salvador

Of the immigrants who I’ve interviewed story was slightly different. The rest of his family was already here but he choose to remain home until the violence became so bad it was a question of life and death.

Two weeks later I interviewed Maria from the Dominican Republic. She was iffy about her english so christian from Puerto Rico agreed to translate (and took that nice picture). Since he has only been here a year and the culture of Puerto Rico is different I included him in the interview as well even though technically he is not an immigrant because Puerto Rico is an American territory.

It worth noting that both Maria and Alvin had college educations where they lived but have been willing to work lesser jobs as they go back to school and learn english, it’s also worth noting that as I alluded to in my July 4th post while Maria wasn’t in the same immediate danger, it was the safety of America that brought her here.

A pair of notes, the delay in posting these interviews were mainly due to Pintastic 2018 coverage , I hope to conduct an interview with a young lady from the Cape Verde Islands this week and am in negotiations to speak to another from Australia. My goal is to get 30 different countries before I start repeating countries but it’s likely that I won’t reach that number before that happens.

You’ll note that other than Phillipe from Haiti, who is very interested in politics, I don’t ask much along those lines. That’s because I’m more interested in getting the where’s and why’s about coming here and their impression of America as a country and Americans as a people. Those are the data points I’m trying to fill and educate myself on.

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It’s been a bad tipjar year, we are in July and despite the booming economy we’ve raised barely 20% of last years total (which is why our expansion plans have been abandoned).

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Todd Tuckey, Electronic skills and the Future of the Pinball Hobby

Todd Tuckey Pintastic NE 2018

Yesterday we highlighted Jersey Jack as one of the People who are driving the Pinball Hobby by his creation of brand new games designed more toward public purchase rather than arcades.

Today I’d like to Focus on Todd Tuckey whose forte is the repair and restoration of the older games that were designed for a different era when the primary goal was for an arcade/bowling alley etc to fill the coin box. Todd Talked about this during his seminar yesterday.

His seminar was all about restoring an old Six Million Dollar Man Game and the procedure to fix it. There is a whole section of the Pinball hobby for restoring pinball machines (the term used is “shopping a machine” which involves a knowledge of electronics, soldering etc. He took a few questions on that as well.

This highlights one of the real difference between those who have been in the hobby for some time and those newly entering via barcades and events like this. The old guard tends to have a fair popular who knows about circuit boards, capacitors, heat syncs etc but many of the new folks are just interested in a game that runs. I asked Todd about that in the Q & A.

Now in the old days there were a fair amount of young men who would learn about electronics in “shop” classes and decide to go in that direction, but with society convincing people that unless they put themselves in debt a few hundred thousand dollars for a degree (even if such a degree is LBGT dance studies) they are somehow inferior, you are seeing less people of either sex learning these kind of skills.

On the plus side because games at home are not continually on have perhaps 8-10 hours a day of play 300+ days a year (and are likely subject to less abuse as you are less likely to mistreat a machine you own) both a new Jersey Jack machine that you are paying 6-10K for an old game after a Tuckey restoration that might cost $2500 your game is likely to last you decades.

I did a very long interview with Todd in three parts as my cameras alternatively kept running out of battery or shut themselves off for no apparently reason it is in three parts

Part 2

and Part 3

Todd’s business TNT Amusements is here
Todd’s own Youtube channel has made him a legend in the industry, you can see is here and includes this classic moment from last year of me getting in trouble with DA wife until she realizes she’s being recorded

His videos are a plethora of knowledge about electronics and repairing machines, in other words actual practical skills worth knowing.

I submit and suggest that with the growth of the hobby it might be worthwhile to ditch the prehistoric microaggression studies degree that you’re working on and instead pick up this electronics knowledge which pays real money. Even better if haven’t built up more debt than the cost of the entire Jersey Jack Pinball line because your still in High school see if you can begin to pick up the knowledge there that can provide a career and a hobby for a lifetime.

Welcome Todd Tuckey fans: We have a lot of Pinball coverage here including coverage of every Pintastic since the first one, Pinball locations in NJ and Maryland and of course a ton of interviews of all types. Take a peek around I hope you enjoy it.