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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, July 01, 2010

Campaign budgets

It doesn't take super skill to discern the underlying political values of Boston's two newspapers. But the message is certainly loud and clear in today's coverage of Deval Patrick's signing of the fiscal 2011 budget.

The Globe leads with what's there: the pain of a $27.6 billion spending plan that slashes "funding for services across state government, including public education, dental care for the poor, and developmental services for toddlers."

The Herald looks at what's missing: a no new taxes pledge from Deval Patrick.

Looks like it's right out of the talking points of Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill.

Like the Herald, neither of Patrick's opponents let the facts of the day get in the way. The fact that Patrick bit the bullet and nixed a legislative balancing act that tried to paint a best- and worse-case scenario if federal stimulus dollars held up by Scott Brown and company ever come through.

Patrick opted for the tough medicine lawmakers will very likely sidestep when they take up his vetoes next week.
“The pain is widespread. Our budget reflects the difficult economic times.’’
Baker and Cahill were quick to pounce (before the ink was applied, let alone dried), laying all the blame at Patrick's door naturally.

For two creatures of Beacon Hill, they both seem blissfully unaware of the real problem Patrick or one of them would face in crafting a budget: a Legislature with the votes to do what it wants.

Baker loves to attack Patrick for approving the sales tax increase -- and the governor did sign it into law, after lawmakers trashed his own proposal to close the budget gap. Would a Gov. Baker or Cahill rip themselves in similar circumstances?

But the most annoying habit of this annual political dance is that the critics are not asked how they would do things differently. And if pressed, he offer just a vague mantra about waste, fraud and abuse.

Heck, you would have thought there would have been little of it left after Administration and Finance Secretary Baker slashed it all from the Weld budgets and tough Republican governors named Cellucci, Swift and Romney carried on in his image.

And as for the no new taxes gimmick? Let's see how long it takes for a sober and reasonable chief executive to cut off his options when presented with cold, hard reality.

Happy Fiscal New Year!

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