Boston briefs: Hundreds take a New Year’s Day plunge despite cold

Monday, January 01, 2018
Hundreds take New Year’s plunge in cold

BOSTON — About 200 people have taken a New Year’s Day dip in the frigid waters of Boston despite the bone-chilling cold.

The bitter cold forced the cancellation or postponement of many “polar plunge” events throughout the country on Monday.

The Boston Globe reports that the annual L Street Brownies New Year’s Day Swim went on as planned in South Boston, with 200 or so brave souls taking part.

Last year, roughly twice that amount took the plunge.

WPRI-TV reports that every New Year's Day plunge in Rhode Island was called off, except for an event in Portsmouth, R.I. About three dozen people participated.

Tax on medical devices to resume

BOSTON — While much of corporate America will enjoy a tax cut in 2018, one industry is getting a tax increase.

A 2.3-percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers is set for reinstatement Monday after a two-year hiatus. It was originally imposed in 2013 as one of several taxes and fees in the Affordable Care Act that pay for expanded health coverage.

The tax was unpopular with Republicans but also many Democrats from states like Massachusetts and Minnesota with large clusters of medical device firms.

Congress voted to suspend the tax for 2016 and 2017 and the industry fought to have it permanently eliminated by 2018. But that hasn’t happened yet and companies are warning the tax will cost $20 billion over the next 10 years, hurting jobs and product development.

Mayor Walsh takes oath for 2nd term

BOSTON — Mayor Marty Walsh took the oath of office for a second term as Boston’s chief executive on Monday, promising to make the city stronger.

Former Vice President Joe Biden presided over the inauguration at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. The Democratic mayor defeated City Councilor Tito Jackson in November.

Biden praised Walsh for his character and efforts to create a thriving middle class, calling him a “man of extraordinary character in a moment when we need more character and incredible courage.”

“We’re at a moment when mayors and governors matter more than they ever did,” Biden said. “We need leaders who will stand up against the ugly divisiveness spewing out of Washington every day.”

First elected in 2013, Walsh replaced the late Tom Menino, the city’s longest-serving mayor who didn’t seek re-election.