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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, July 13, 2007

$26.8 billion for what?

There's an amazing lack of controversy (or coverage) surrounding Deval Patrick's $41 million in vetoes or even the overall budget.

A quick look at the veto message suggests very little in the way of major battles with the Legislature (even the local district earmarks amount to chump change in a spending plan this size.)

While the Herald tries to make noise where there might not otherwise be any, the fact is the Romney-era abstinence education funding is unlikely to generate enough noise for an override. A more likely source of fireworks is the veto of travel and tourism grants shepherded by Senate President Terry Murray.

But when two of those grants are targeted at a dental program and a $35,000 engineering study of a Seekonk landfill, Patrick at least has some room to maneuver in public.

More interesting though is the reaction from House Speaker Sal DiMasi and Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation chief Mike Widmer, who has sparred off and on with Patrick over the months.
In a statement yesterday afternoon, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi commended the governor for working with the Legislature, and for embracing nearly 100 percent of the spending priorities to provide local aid, sewer rate relief, and money to implement last year’s health reform law, ‘‘all without new taxes, fees, or fines.’’
And Widmer offered only a "time will tell" response to what the future holds for a budget balanced on one-time revenues and reserves -- rather than the closed corporate tax loopholes Patrick would have preferred.

All in all, this is a budget that suggests the Legislature is eager to get out of Boston, backs to the hills and the beaches and barbecues. September is soon enough to launch the next battle.

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