Together We Can, Together We Must

With tensions continuing to ratchet up between the Governor and the Legislature it appears that opposition to Governor Patrick has created bipartisan comity in the State Senate. The Governor has reiterated his threat to veto the sales tax hike, calling Legislative tax hiking efforts “thumbing our nose” at taxpayers. The Governor continues to demand high profile reform bills be passed by the Legislature before tax hikes reach his desk. The Legislative response has been swift and furious. Republican senators launched blistering attacks on the Governor, but they were joined happily by the large Democratic Majority. State Senator Steve Baddour called a prospective veto “irrelevant” when interviewed by Janet Wu, and Senate Minority Leader Tisei called Patrick “erratic and irrelevant”. The Governor was hit for being out of state during the Senate budget deliberations, and the State Senate put up Patrick’s gas tax proposals at both 11 cents and 19 cents for decisive slam downs. Senate President Murray took the unusual step of actually voting (no) on the gas tax proposals, showing her continuing picque with the Governor. And Senator Bruce Tarr (R) of Gloucester filed legislation demanding further reporting on executive branch salaries and steps that the Governor would be taking to reduce compensation levels. It was a clear kick to the Governor. From the State House News Service:

Senators voted unanimously Wednesday to require Gov. Deval Patrick to report on “all action undertaken by the Executive Branch” this fiscal year and “those planned to be undertaken” next fiscal year “to reduce the costs of employee compensation.” The move comes amid high-profile stories of Patrick aides’ salaries, and hours after the News Service reported that Patrick called the Legislature’s timing on raising the sales tax “thumbing our nose” at taxpayers.

This measure passed the Senate unanimously, and apparently with some glee. When asked about whether a message was being sent to the Governor Senate President Murray said:

“Together we can … Together we must.”

The political situation continues to deteroriate rapidly for the Governor on Beacon Hill. He seems to have a split personality on the issue of fighting with the Legislature, issuing salves one day and fighting words the next day. He needs to fine tune the message, whatever that might be. If it is a fight he wants then the Legislature appears more than willing to oblige him. Does the Governor have the stomach for the nasty times ahead?

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11 Responses to Together We Can, Together We Must

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    A response to your blog entry.

    First it appears to me you have bought into accepting the 25% sales tax increase willingly and without protest. I wonder how you can do this and explain how your friends (in if I had a few more friends we could…) to the local business people who will be the recipients of the sales tax increase by having customers driving into New Hampshire?

    I have taken notice of Governor Patric’s empty suited leadership in early entries.

    I am suspicious of Steve Baddour’s feelings regarding his quiet NO vote. I wonder in his heart of heart if he would have voted yes if he represented Worcester. Like you he has no heart in the opposition to tax increases.

    Now to Democratic hypocrisy: The Herald has been trying to get the number and salaries of the legislator’s staff. If they pass legislation to force Governor Patricks Staff, will they also be forced to expose their own staffing issues?

    You wrote’ “This measure passed the Senate unanimously, and apparently with some glee.”

    Wouldn’t be nice if they felt some kind of embarrassment for having to raise taxes without keeping their ‘reform before revenue’ pledge (a political word defined as “that which can be ignored”).

    Can you explain to me why there is no sunset provision in the tax bill to return the 6.25% sales tax, and the other riders that will multiply the revenue, to 5% when the economy of the state returns to some definable point of normalcy, and why hasn’t Steve Baddour et. al. fought for one?

    Jules from Taxachussetts which is no longer a Common-wealth.

    Like

  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    I am not sure what would prompt you to say that I have softened my opposition to a sales tax increase. The Senate version is even more of a problem than the House version, because the Senate version dedicates zero sales tax revenue to local aid. I spoke out against the House version, which dedicated $200 million to local aid. It is still the wrong tax, at the wrong time.

    I agree that staff salaries and levels should be released, and there is no excuse for not doing so.

    Sunset provisions for tax increases are very rare, especially in Massachusetts. The revenue raised is what they call “once in, never out”.

    Bill

    Like

  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I fail to see your passion except for Governor Patrick. They are screwing your constituency, they are harming your town businesses and they are harming the town as a whole.

    You are a good writer and your words flow smoothly. You always give the yin and yang of the issue (too much for my take). You could be a writer for the Boston Globe if it survives. The only time you get passionate is when you rub some Republican’s nose in the mud. I know it’s intended to annoy me and it works. (I consider it is the more interesting part of our give and take.)

    If I were mayor I would be beside myself with anger for the incompetence of the local lawmen. I would call them out for the lack of effort to do the ‘reform before revenue’ thing.

    As far as the Governor is concerned he is an empty suit. Steve Baddour et al are the same. They are working to maximize their perks.

    I agree with the last point regarding sunset law.

    So here’s what happens. One day things get better, the revenue stream is enlarged by the added sales tax and the legislature lards up and we are back to the beginning again.

    What’s your take?

    Jules

    Like

  4. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    I think that if you asked those that really know me that lack of passion is not one of my faults. I try to not burn bridges in this business, because as the Mayor of our community I need to interact continually with our legislative delegation. I disagree with the sales tax. I disagree with the notion that true reform has been enacted by the Legislature, and I am outraged that true municipal reforms have not been considered. I called the “municipal reform” package an embarassment. I am not just a commentator but remain cognizant of my role as Mayor.

    As far as the Governor goes I believe I have been tough on him where it is warranted, and it has been warranted plenty.

    I disagree with your last point, although I understand what you are saying. It is my view that there will not be any “getting better” for many years. I believe that based on my reading of the numbers we will be right back to the same problems financially next year. And that is the basis for my belief that cost side reforms MUST be enacted before a financial collapse occurs.

    Thank you for your compliment on writing. I do believe that I may be getting criticized for being “fair and balanced”.

    As far as my tweaking of national Republicans that must continue. I know how much you enjoy it so maybe a new Dick Cheney posting is in order. Keep lobbing them in on me. I will keep trying to hit them back. I think I owe you some coffee, as the final municipal relief package really was an embarassment.

    Bill

    Like

  5. Jim says:

    “As far as the Governor is concerned he is an empty suit. Steve Baddour et al are the same. ”

    Hear…hear! Wow, did I just agree with Jules?!

    “I try to not burn bridges in this business, because as the Mayor of our community I need to interact continually with our legislative delegation.”

    Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO DIPLOMACY IN POLITICS! 🙂

    Like

  6. Bill Manzi says:

    Jim agrees with Jules! Wow! Can Jules constant rants be pushing us all to the right? If I ever see a Jim post saying he agrees with Dick Cheney then I know all is lost!

    Like

  7. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    My take
    How can you write an opinion if you are restricted by your office. You can’t be honest in your commentary as you must always moderate your words or ideas so as not to upset those who can affect town issues.

    I understand this. Let me offer you my assistance and I will take careful note of your ambivalence and frame my response to punish those who need an unfair response.

    What do you think about my feeling the legislation must be turned over before governance can improve?

    I like your idea about an entry about the great debate. Cheney kicked butt. The great One gave his typical pronouncements while looking down his nose at his children all the while carrying out Bush/Cheney policies. Read Krauthammer before you denigrate Cheney. Cheney has gained 8 points since January.

    Do you think the capture of the Muslim jail house Jihadists who attempted to blow up a Synagogue and shoot down planes with Stinger Missiles will affectObama’s policies? I can see it now; Obama brings the prisoners to an American prison and they form Muslims Terror Gangs.

    An aside; How many German or Italian prisoners brought to America were put on trial in America (except for those who committed crimes after arrival)?

    Yes, you might want to pay off that bet before the sales tax goes up. Oh, I forgot, we can go up to New Hampshire.

    Just give me time and place. This Wednesday is out.

    Jules

    Like

  8. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    My position as Mayor does not at all constrain me from voicing an opinion. But in so doing I will be careful to avoid calling other political figures “empty suits”. That is the only constraint I feel. And I take it you feel that my failure to engage in those rhetorical flourishes makes me less passionate. I strongly disagree, you ###@@@@#@#.

    (Mayoral Disclaimer: The above referenced foul language was an attempt at humor. Thank You! )

    Like

  9. Matty K says:

    The Mayor employing foul language???? Never!

    Like

  10. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    You spelled ###@@@@#@# wrong. It should end with a %$^@.

    The word you typed says, “I am a life long conservative”. Just trying to protect your reputation.

    Jules

    Like

  11. Jim says:

    You’re safe there mayor…for all eternity. I do still maintain SOME scruples. 😉

    “If I ever see a Jim post saying he agrees with Dick Cheney then I know all is lost!”

    Like

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