Speaker Robert Deleo managed to get his tax package through the House last evening, winning passage of the $500 million transportation finance package by a 97-55 margin. That margin, sufficient for passage, would leave the Speaker some eight votes short of the two thirds necessary to override the promised veto by Governor Patrick. The bill now moves to the Senate, where Ways and Means will release the Senate version of this package today.
The Speaker now faces the unpleasant prospect of having the Governor in a position to make a veto stick, something that has not happened on important legislation in years. Eight votes is not an insurmountable obstacle for the Speaker, and my own guess is that he will be closer than that once he starts putting on the pressure. If the Speaker fails to achieve an override the question then goes to whether he will indeed just move on, leaving the Governor with an empty plate. I think that threat is more substantial than some may think, although a negotiated settlement with the Governor at $750-$800 million for this tax package is achievable. I get the sense the Speaker does not wish to negotiate, which would leave everyone back at square one. On to the Senate.