Swift\'s Last Days
The Hiller Instinct: Swift's Last Days
Governor Swift this afternoon chose delay over despair...deciding not to give legislators a list of the budget cuts she thinks are necessary to balance the state's budget. She acknowledges the budget deficit could be as high as $600 million dollars and, in an interview, admits she's breaking another promise.
Jane Swift, (R) Acting Governor
"By the end of the day on Tuesday there could be a shortfall of anywhere from $10 to $60 million."
And that's just for December. The budget has overwhelmed Swift; she's giving up trying to balance it.
Andy Hiller, Political editor
"You promised you would leave with a balanced budget. You're not leaving with a balanced budget."
"I think that's there a possibility that there'll be a gap in revenues. I believe I've handled responsibily all the fiscal decisions - the very difficult decisions that have been handed to me."
On her own, Swift has already cut $850 million dollars from the budget. She's done acting alone.
"I think the legislature now needs to step up to the plate to minimize the impact on real people."
During our interview, Swift outlined the recommendations she'll be giving the legislature. They include:
- Across-the-board reductions
- Expanded budget powers for Romney
- The possible use of tobacco settlement money and cash reserves
- Raising health insurance costs for some high paid state employees
"There are number of options that if the legislature participates are available to minimize the impact on direct core services."
After meeting with Swift today, the house speaker painted a bleak picture of what's ahead:
House Speaker Tom Finneran, (D) Boston
"This is as serious as anything I've ever seen and it's more difficult than anything I've ever seen, including 1991, which was in my experience the worst year we've ever had. This is much worse than that."
You can blame Jane Swift if you want to for leaving Mitt Romney an unbalanced budget... but the truth is, there's more than enough blame to go all around Beacon Hill.
For months, the legislature has let Swift try to solve the fiscal crisis herself and, surprise, she couldn't. But now that game is over and there's no time for any more games: the bill is due!