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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, April 10, 2013

Half a loaf

There's a signpost up ahead to the Beacon Hill transportation showdown, if any of the players are willing to accept it.

Senate President Therese Murray is offering a bill worth anywhere between $725 million and $805 million in revenue and spending earmarked for transportation.

Problem is: will anyone -- from the dug in House leadership to the Patrick allies -- be willing to bend?

To Murray, the new proposal -- which taxes utility companies by requiring them to pay for infrastructure, such as light poles, on state highway right-of-ways and diverts roughly $80 million in excess funds from an underground storage tank cleanup program -- is better than the nothing likely if she stands firm with the House plan:
“If that bill doesn’t go forward, then the T rates will go up, tolls will go up, and I don’t think anybody wants that to happen."
Patrick, who says he would be willing to find a middle ground, has not signaled his thoughts on the Senate proposal as clearly as he has denounced the House plan. Reading the tea leaves however, his Senate supporters are gearing up to try to delay consideration of the Murray proposal.

Jamaica Plain Democrat Sonia Chang-Diaz used procedural maneuvers to delay Thursday consideration of the bill and her Acton colleague James Eldridge called the House bill regressive,  declaring:
  “I think we need a much stronger revenue package."
Patrick may have held the high ground for his grand, if expensive, not to mention overly ambitious  vision to overhaul transportation and education. But he is quickly losing that high ground:
 Our governor is about to suffer a stinging rebuke. The man most responsible for that?
Deval Laurdine Patrick.

Patrick and his team have over-reached badly on his big tax-and-spending package. He now faces this choice: Settle for much less or risk getting nothing at all.
When columnists call you by your rarely used middle name you have a problem.

It's easier to compromise than change your middle name.

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