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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, September 20, 2008

Globe discovers fiscal crisis

I was almost ready to start one of those countdown clocks keeping tabs on how long it takes for Barack Obama to appear on Fox or John McCain to understand the economy.

But today's Globe front page finally acknowledges a nasty problem on the home front -- the gaping hole in the state's fiscal 2009 budget. But it took the Wall Street meltdown to do it.

State tax collections are in a free fall after two months and, unlike the Dow Jones average, not destined to hop on a roller coaster. That's because, unlike the stock market, there's no federal bailout coming.
Compounding this year's problem is how much the federal government will reimburse the state for health care programs. The state had planned to receive $3.5 billion for this fiscal year, but negotiations have dragged on past the June 30 deadline. If federal aid falls short, that could force more budget cuts.
In fact, regular readers of this space -- or the Statehouse News Service -- know the feds are not feeling at all generous.

Gov. Deval Patrick appears ready to do whatever he can to hold down spending in the executive branch. What's still up in the air is whether the Legislature will come back and deal with this before November.

But at least the Newspaper of Record has finally noticed. The Herald? Well, they're telling us that McCain can win in Massachusetts.

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