Patrick threatens veto, calls DeLeo-Murray plan ‘pay more get less’

THE CONFRONTATION between Gov. Deval Patrick and Beacon Hill’s legislative leadership is boiling over.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray came together this week to deliver a rare joint rebuke to an ambitious $1.9 billion tax plan Patrick released in January. Patrick’s tax package would significantly ramp up state education spending, and backstop a wide-ranging $13 billion transportation bond. In unveiling a far smaller $500 million transportation tax package, Murray pointedly said Patrick’s tax plan would “bankrupt the current generation.” DeLeo had previously said the governor’s $1.9 billion tax package lived in “fantasy land.”

Patrick responded in kind on Thursday, calling the Legislature’s $500 million tax package a state-funded bailout of the MBTA that leaves capital spending on crumbling highways, rickety bridges, and rusting subway cars untouched.

“Everybody pays more and gets less,” Patrick said at a State House press conference. “I can’t see why that’s good policy, or good politics.”

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Paul McMorrow

Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

He said the negotiation about raising taxes was “not about my number versus theirs, it’s about pretending to fix the problem, versus actually fixing the problem … If we’re going to fix the problem, let’s really fix the problem.”

He tried to reframe the thorny politics of tax hikes on Beacon Hill, arguing that passing a small but ineffectual tax hike presented larger political risks than his more wide-ranging proposal: “I don’t think it’s good politics to raise taxes on everybody without being able to show you’re doing something at home. You’re going to pay more but you’re not going to see more? I don’t get that.” And he drew a dramatic line in the sand, saying if the Legislature insisted on passing their $500 million tax bill, “They will have this bill. And they will have my veto.”