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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Speaker is Dead. Long Live the Speaker

"Robert DeLeo, you just won the job as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. What are you going to do?"

"I'm going into a corner to hide and consider why I was crazy enough to want this job!"

Now that the Winthrop Democrat has emerged from the long-running Beacon Gill soap opera "As the Speaker Resigns" and turns his attention to the business that piled up while we worried about Sal, Bobby and John, he may well be forgiven for asking if she would have been better off losing.

John Rogers will have far fewer worries in his sub-basement office than those which confront DeLeo. To be sure, the new boss would have been in the middle of it as chairman of House Ways and Means, but now the buck, literally, stops with him. Actually billions, as the Globe's Matt Viser notes:
By the time DeLeo assumes his post, Governor Deval Patrick will have unveiled $1.1 billion in immediate budget-balancing measures this morning that are expected to include layoffs and reductions in state service, including a $128 million cut in local aid, along with a second budget proposal for the next fiscal year that could expand the total value of cuts and tax increases to $3 billion or more.
We're apparently talking about taxes on booze and gasoline as well higher registry fees and a slew of local option taxes -- all on top of a cut in local services and the likely layoff of police, firefighters and teachers, shorter business hours in cities and town halls.

And if that's not enough to get the right wing talk radio crowd up in arms, DeLeo is tossing in an option that should inflame the left wing blogosphere.
"I like slots at the racetracks," DeLeo said yesterday. "Then, we can have the casinos."
And I was worried I would have nothing to write about after King Sal left the building.

The Speaker is Dead. Long Live the Speaker. Good luck Mr. DeLeo, you will need it.

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