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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remember this quote

Deval Patrick's fiscal 2008 budget is likely to be remembered more for this quote than for the actual dollars and cents within it:
"The budget . . . from the House does not address that structural problem," Patrick said. "We will be right back here next year if we don't address that problem. Nobody's looking to raise taxes for the sake of raising taxes . . . but facing reality means we've got to face the fact that there is much more demand for services -- including from businesses, by the way -- than there is revenue to pay for it."
The spending plan offered by House budget writers is a classic of the "executive proposes, legislature disposes" variety. The question of who is more fiscally responsible remains central. More money for local aid is a good thing -- but at the expense of public health? Public safety?

What's also curious is what now appears to be a $400 million gap between Patrick and the House in terms of "maintenance," the figure calculated to determine what agencies need to do the same job as last year.

By using rainy day funds and tobacco control reserves to fill a maintenance gap that they say is smaller than Patrick, the House is gambling on a good year -- despite estimates that revenues will grow only 3 percent. You really hope they are right, but is is sound policy?

No one likes higher taxes because it can stunt plans to buy a dream house or expand a business (even multi-billion dollar businesses like Verizon). This standoff on revenue is natural, but it will be most interesting to see what the Senate comes up with.

While Senate President Terry Murray has ruled out taxes as part of the budget debate, the Patrick plan remains open for debate in the Upper Chamber.

It's interesting to note the House also dumped the $1 million Shannon anti-gang proposal as well as the Patrick plan for more cops on the beat in favor of community policing funds. This might be a good time for someone to actually explain what the differences are -- and what would make the public safer. Brian, you want to climb out of Tommy's SUV and take that one up?

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

It is poor statesmanship indeed to cut public health measures like vaccinations--which do more than prevent disease, they prevent the future fiscal costs disease outbreaks.

I've read that the Senate President used to be a single mom. I hope that experience convinces her to do a better job of preventing diseases in the many children of this state.

April 12, 2007 12:17 PM  

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