Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

Gov. Patrick ready to battle (updated)
February 20, 2009, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Well, Massachusetts State Legislature, consider the gauntlet having been thrown down.

Gov. Patrick has just wrapped up his transportation reform press conference (more a speech, really, since he didn’t take questions), and he’s made it clear he’s going directly after the MBTA employees union. He name-dropped the “23-and-out” policy, predicted that there is going to push back from both the union and certain legisators, and said “You wanna bump? Let’s bump.”

It’s one of the few times that Gov Patrick has been able to argue from the moral highground and with popular opinion on his side. I argued a couple months back that Patrick is placing his re-election bet hard on this transportation reform plan. If he wins, it will go along way towards getting him a second term. If he fails, he’ll join Ed King as a one-termer.

The main difference right now between Gov. Patrick’s plan and the Senate plan is that the Senate plan does not contain any revenue proposals. Patrick’s plan also would give the Transpotation Secretary much more direct management authority over the new transportation system, while the Senate plans places that authority with a board and a CEO.

One possible strength of Patrick’s plan appears to be his willingness to spell out specifically where every cent of the tax hike would go, i.e., Big Dig debt, MBTA debt, etc. It’s the type of transparency that the average voter/taxpayer will latch onto, although my gut still tells me that the 19-cent hike won’t fly.

UPDATE: BlueMassGroup has posted an interview it conducted with Trans. Secretary Jim Aloisi from last night that was apparantly embargoed until a few minutes ago. The post contains a specific breakdown of the gastax hike, as well as an explanation of the proposed employee benefit changes.

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