The blizzard that hit Massachusetts this week has taken a toll on municipal budgets.
Cities and towns could get back much of the money that was spent to plow several feet of snow off the streets and sidewalks, if a federal disaster declaration is issued. Massachusetts Lt Gov Karyn Polito said the administration is putting together the paperwork to determine if the state qualifies for federal help.
" We will be going through the process working with MEMA and FEMA to document the costs," Polito said Thursday in Holyoke.
Massachusetts is coming off the strongest year for job growth since 2000. Even in Springfield, which has struggled to recover from the recession, there are signs of better times.
As 2014 came to a close, the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, down from 5.8 percent in November and 7.1 percent a year ago. The state’s unemployment rate is now the lowest since the summer of 2008 before the Great Recession hit.
A state board in New York has recommended an increase in the hourly wage paid to restaurant servers and other tipped workers.
The Wage Board voted Friday in favor of raising the so-called tipped wage from $5 to $7.50 an hour at year's end. Servers would be paid a dollar less if they make significantly more than the minimum wage when tips are factored in.
The law allows employers to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage if gratuities make up the difference.