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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reality check

The parties are over (despite Herald cheap shots) and its time for reality to settle in on Beacon Hill. And that requires matching Deval Patrick's campaign promises with Mitt Romney and the Massachusetts Legislature's budget realities.

And the facts are that while fiscal '07 appears to be on track despite some presidential campaign trail antics from Mitt Romney, there are trouble signs up for '08. And on his real first day, Patrick took a closer look at two of his major promises: more cops on the beat and property tax relief.
Governor Deval Patrick, faced with a surprisingly tight budget situation, is tempering some of his campaign promises, saying yesterday that he may have to stretch his much touted plan for 1,000 new police officers over several years and stabilize, rather than cut, property taxes.
The exact cause of fiscal '08 uncertainty isn't really clear. Is it unsustainable growth built into the current budget or an over reliance on capital gains taxes as opposed to payroll taxes? While no one other than true policy geeks care to argue the whys at length, the simple message is the warning flags are up and are being heeded.

While there will be howls of "broken promises" (no doubt from the same people accusing Patrick of overspending), the idea that things can be spread out over four years is a sound one. The culture wars being fanned by the Herald's "enterprising" staff are not.

Let's leave aside the question of how $438,000 or even $13.4 million is a drop in the $25.7 billion budget bucket. Instead, let's look at the fact that a program that occupies Cambodian gang bangers so they are not on the streets might be the equivalent of a cop or two (second item).

And while it's true, as the unnamed legislative source (inside the Republican leadership?) says that "there is no Cambodian folk dancing crisis in the state," handpicking seemingly easy targets without doing adequate reporting is NOT the way to attack the problem.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to drop the new cop idea anyway. It was silly in the first place, amounting to 3 cops per town. Clearly an item borrowed from the Clinton era, with no staying power and no real crime deterring impact.

January 09, 2007 5:50 AM  

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