Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick recently signed into law the state’s new budget. Patrick claims that, after using his line item veto, he has approved a budget that included significant cuts that would help streamline the state’s currently debt laden balance sheet. Furthermore, Patrick claims that this budget increases spending by only 0.2%; a modest increase in his mind. Despite his stipulated spending cuts, which are to take effect in FY 2011, there is still some uncertainty about whether or not Massachusetts will:1) be a recipient of federal stimulus money for the upkeep of its Medicaid program, and/or 2) raise taxes on property owners and consumers. Reportedly, Patrick hasn’t ruled out either of these options.
Former state budget chief and now Massachusetts gubernatorial hopeful, Charlie Baker contends that Gov. Patrick is merely scrambling to make up for poor fiscal management decisions that he has been making since he originally took office. The Boston Globe reports:
Baker said that Patrick’s management of the budget would eventually lead to higher taxes and that because the governor’s plan depends on $300 million in debt restructuring that has not yet passed the Legislature, it is not truly balanced.
Furthermore, regarding Baker’s thoughts on Gov. Patrick’s fiscal incompetency, The Boston Globe reports:
It’s a huge missed opportunity for the Commonwealth to dramatically change the way the state does business,’’ Baker said. “It basically continues the same game of kick the can that the state’s been playing for the last 3 1/2 years.
According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Gov. Patrick only intends on following through with his stipulated $374 million in cuts if Congress fails to extend its Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage; aka, grant Massachusetts more federal stimulus (taxpayer) money. This type of budgetary agenda sheds some light on Gov. Patrick’s true colors. Gov. Patrick will never rectify the state’s structural deficit until he is able to show that he can actually cut spending. Worse, business as usual continues on Beacon Hill, even at a time when families across the Bay State are forced to do with less.
Massachusetts politicians aren’t alone in their inability to rein in out of control spending. They are merely emulating the same overspending habit seen at the federal level, which has consequently led to a $13 trillion national debt. Recently, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, testified before President Obama’s newly appointed National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and offered the following ideas on how to reduce government spending as a percentage of GDP: