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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can we all just get a grip?

They say word-of-mouth is a great way to build buzz about a book or movie. That means Deval Patrick will have a blockbuster on his hands. Unless we all have a collective coronary before it's published in 2010.

You'd have thought Patrick signed a contract to revise the Kama Sutra based on all the words being tossed around. And with a few exceptions, like this, there has been a certain breathlessness, if not outrage, over the news.

Well, as the Outraged Liberal, I suggest we all chill out.

Patrick has displayed an incredible tin political ear and once again reminded us he has an enormous belief in himself. We have a right to wonder if he was really thinking about doing anything "together."

But as the Globe notes, two of Patrick's predecessors (albeit Corner Office bailers) have written books and carried out their day jobs with greater or lesser degrees of success. What he does on nights on weekends is his business -- as long as it doesn't involve escort services or illegalities. No 3 a.m. calls on red telephones at his pay grade.

It's not hard to understand the dismay of idealized Patrick supporters watch him plow ahead to the tune of his own drummer on casinos.

It's also not hard to understand the Massachusetts Republican Party in high dudgeon over this. After all, hypocrisy is the mother's milk of politics and the party's four previous Corner Office occupants made a mess of things before they bailed out -- leaving a largely irrelevant organization desperate for any attention.

But let's look at the immediate road ahead -- which will be much more of a test of Patrick than casinos and book contracts rolled together.

The Associated Press' Steve Leblanc hit the nail on the head with the only really important issue facing the Commonwealth.
OK, now what?

That's the question dogging lawmakers as they search for new revenues after the collapse last week of Gov. Deval Patrick's plan to license three resort style casinos in Massachusetts. Patrick's bill promised an injection of hundreds of millions of new dollars into the state's coffers at a time when Massachusetts is struggling with a $1.3 billion spending gap. Now, with the nation facing a possible recession and Massachusetts still lagging much of the country in job growth, the drive for new dollars is taking on a new urgency.

The royalties from Patrick's book won't come close to closing that gap. For better or worse, he offered a serious, if flawed proposal to deal with it.

The governor is certainly is own man when it comes to doing what he thinks is right, the heck with everyone else. How he guides Massachusetts in the next few months will be more telling than any book deal about whether he plans to stick around.

But it wouldn't be a bad idea if we came up with some solutions "together."

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Blogger Rick Burnes said...

Amen. Would be good if we could pick apart revenue opportunities for the state as well as we pick apart clumsy politics.

March 29, 2008 12:08 PM  
Blogger dan bosley said...

ML, The "what revenue now" argument in favor of casinos works if one believes the revenue figures from the administration. The problem was, and is, that many of us don't believe them. Much of the revenue was already in the state and it would cost us revenue to get the rest back from out of state. The incremental increase wasn't worth it in our opinion. That is not just my opinion. Many of the people who study this from Eddington, Thompson, Grinols, Kindt, and others also write about this. In fact, Doug Walker, generally considered as leaning pro gaming, did a causality study and he also concludes that this is not good economic policy.
If one concludes that the revenues generated from a casino are not enough to cover the economic transfer, the loss to the lottery, and the cost of recapturing out of state spending, then one doesn't have to make up the phony revenue figures spouted by advocates. In fact, responding to this question of how we make up casino revenues falls into the trap of legitimizing the casino revenue figures.
We can do better than this and have in the past. I believe it is better to stick with the plans for IT, Life Science, and Green jobs. Perhaps the proper football metaphor would be that we are better off with four downs in a cloud of dust rather than a quick Hail Mary pass.

March 29, 2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks Mr. Chairman. I came around to reject the revenue numbers too. But, in fairness, for much of 2007, the House wasn't offering anything more than "no" to corporate tax loophole closing and the other ideas being floated. At least this year there are some solid proposals -- like a loophole closing plan and a cigarette tax.

I agree life sciences and green jobs are a good investment in the future. But I think we are looking at a very ugly "now." I'm curious how Ways and Means will handle that one.

March 30, 2008 9:13 AM  

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