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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, January 28, 2010

A day in the life of Deval and Barack

Deval Patrick laid out a budget proposal yesterday morning that calls for help from his friend Barack Obama. By the end of the day it didn't sound like that help was coming.

Quite a day for political junkies and bloggers -- the kind of stuff you wish were spread out over a couple of days. But c'est la vie.

Patrick told us in the morning that the price to level fund education and local aid is cuts across the spectrum -- including some sales tax exemptions and business tax breaks -- along with a sliver of what's left of the rainy day fund and new federal stimulus money.

As Mike Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said:
“If the federal government gives another chunk of money to the states to balance their budgets, then I think this budget will hold together. If they don’t, then it will open up a major hole, and the Legislature will have to deal with it.’’
A major if and several hours later as Obama stood before Congress to talk about the State of the Union, it didn't sound as if the cavalry was riding in tomorrow.

While Obama talked about shifting his focus to jobs creation and putting people back to work, there didn't appear to be a lot of talk about a second stimulus plan. If states have to rely on the incomes and sales taxes generated when people get back to work and spending, then it could be a cold budget -- and election -- year for Patrick.

But there was a striking similarity between the scenes on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill: the total lack of new ideas from the men and women who want to defeat Patrick and Obama. The national GOP was full of tweet as the Obama speech went on but as usual there was little of substance from the gang who held the levers of power as the economy swirled down the toilet.

And back home, Charlie Baker may not have been as prepackaged as when he offered a State of the State rebuttal before the speech, but his comments about Patrick's plan pretty much echoed own his alternative:
“It’s the same old, same old,’’ he said in an interview [with the Globe]. “I don’t see the hard work of reform, which is the way out of this."
Such as Mr. Baker? If empty words were cash, this state and this country would be swimming in a surplus.

But Baker did a lot better than Treasurer Tim Cahill, who declared local aid should be not spared because cities and towns have to share the pain.
“If we’re paring back in state government, then local governments have to share that, just like they share in the revenue when it’s growing."
Take a look at your property tax bill lately Mr. Treasurer? Seems there's been a lot of pain sharing to maintain basic services like public safety, which is supported by local aid. Further local aid cuts mean higher property taxes -- or fewer cops. You decide.

I'm eagerly awaiting the day when the rhetoric is replaced with the reality of specifics. But I don't plan on holding my breath.

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Blogger tetron said...

as usual there was little of substance from the gang who held the levers of power as the economy swirled down the toilet.

For some reason this gives me the image of a image of a fat, sweaty republican in front of a backed up toilet repeatedly pressing the "lever of power" as it overflows onto the floor...

I imagine the conversation going something like this:

Obama: Let's call a plumber.

Republicans: No. A plumber will bust the budget.

Obama: Ok, here's a pipe snake, let's try that.

Republicans: No. That's too complicated. I'm not going to read 1000s of pages to figure it out.

Obama: Fine. Here's a toilet plunger. It might make the mess worse in the short term, but it should get things flowing again.

Republicans: No. And by the way, it's your fault this mess isn't cleaned up already.

Obama: Well, my predecessor sent all our mops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans: Indoor plumbing is a liberal conspiracy. The Founding Fathers didn't have indoor plumbing.

American People: Are you guys done in there? There's 350 million of us who really need to go...

January 29, 2010 1:46 PM  

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