Gov. Patrick\'s Spending Cuts
The Hiller Instinct: Gov. Patrick's Spending Cuts
So I don't think state emergency is the right word.
Still, this was a news conference Governor Patrick never wanted to hold and he put it off as long as he could. But with the state economy choked by consumer concern and the national economy cratered by Wall Street, he was forced to retreat from his plans to grow state government.
Patrick--who has described himself as impatient--can only be frustrated.
In his two years in office, he's proposed spending billions on education, transportation, crumbling bridges, and life sciences. His vision was to change state government, but now fiscal reality is changing his vision. And there are other financial issues he didn't even deal with today, for example, the billions of dollars in debt at the turnpike authority and the MBTA.
Reorganization will not make their debts disappear. The governor did say he wants to delay paying the money owed on state pensions, but that just sounds like more debt. It's not a pretty picture, but at least the governor is giving us a more accurate look at state finances. And you can be sure he wishes it were different...as we all do.
What's coming next has already started. Protests by workers and advocates who think they've been unfairly singled out; intense lobbying by officials and agencies trying to save their budgets; and, of course, the fine art of finger pointing. Some of it will work, but all of it can't. Unless--unless revenue is raised...beyond what the governor talked about today.
So expect calls for tax hikes, starting with the gas tax because no matter how much money the state has, or doesn't have, this is still Massachusetts.
I'm Andy Hiller and that's my instinct.
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