The Hill and the Hall Week in Review
Each Friday, Paul McMorrow will take you inside the smoke-filled rooms and darkly-lit corridors of government to bring you the hottest and juiciest political tidbits. This Week: Deval Patrick’s budget troubles are just the beginning; teamsters; Charles Yancey’s quick thinking saves a photo-op; and the sweet feet of Rob Consalvo and Steve Murphy.
We hear that Governor Deval Patrick’s budget priorities are in trouble. That’s not any great surprise. The House and Senate took most of the governor’s recommendations and tossed them in the trash last year, too.
But here’s where things get interesting. The budget crunch is about to get a lot worse in the next few years, and when it does, it’ll put Patrick’s broad promises on public safety, education, parks, and property taxes in big, big trouble. Which, of course, will put Patrick in big, big trouble.
As previously discussed, because of the significant price tag that comes along with the myriad campaign promises Patrick made, his administration must look at fiscal troubles though a political lens. It’s one thing for the legislature to delay investing in new cops or early education for a few years; it’s quite another for the governor, who’s going to have a reelection fight on his hands well before the economy’s caviar and champagne days return.
And here’s what hurts extra-hard: Whatever extra cash Beacon Hill budget writers have been able to stuff into budgets in recent years, hasn’t come from any real growth in the economy.
Instead, it’s come from the stock market (and lotto-brainwashing, obvs). When Wall Street tanks, the state’s built-in budget deficit is going to balloon like crazy, making it even less likely that Patrick will be able to check many things off his to-do list anytime soon.
Here’s a hot backroom fight to keep an eye on. On Wednesday, a week after voting to approve Cheryl (rhymes with…) Jacques’s appointment as a workers’ comp judge, Governor’s councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney (yes, it’s her) took her vote back.
It’s not clear whether the no backsies rule applies to judicial nominations, but Devaney believes Jacques told the Governor’s Council that, if confirmed, she would close her controversial campaign account. It remains active. Hence, scandal, screaming headlines, etc.
Jacques has said that she wants to hold on to her cash so she can dole it out to charity; we’ll soon see if a hot iron to the skull can change that right quick.
Teamsters are targeting anti-casino politicians. They’ve put lawmakers on notice that they’re ready to solicit opponents to run against Sal DiMasi’s minions, and are even promising to send a few into early retirement. This, after Bobby “Bullshit!” Haynes assured State House News that labor would not target anti-casino incumbents, saying, “We have no intention of beating [DiMasi] or his members up over casino gaming.”
We’ve also heard complaints from inside the State House that other unions are acting similarly uncharitably towards Reps who voted against them last month.
It’s natural that the unions would act this way. After all, without casinos, it’s unlikely that anything at all will be built in this state for the next century or so. Which means no jobs for anybody, ever. Way to go, legislature.
It didn’t seem possible, but there’s even more turnover coming to the Senate. The bleeding has been rampant over the past year, and word broke late yesterday that Robert Creedon, the affable co-chair of the judiciary committee, will be joining the stampede out of the legislature’s upper chamber. The twin lures of a fat raise and short commute are irresistible, apparently.
Shameless plugs abounded at this week’s Boston City Council meeting. Rob Consalvo pushed a resolution supporting a ban on Salvia Divinorum by urging his colleagues, repeatedly, to “Go on MyFoxBoston.com and YouTube” and “check out Fox 25’s exposé,” while Steve Murphy took the time to mention that Dunkin’ Donuts is “a very popular brand” in the greater Boston area. You don’t say!
Save of the week: Charles Yancey leaping forward and ripping the lens cap off a camera just seconds before a staffer was to shoot a photo of him and birthday gal Maureen Feeney. Nothing gets past that guy.
And a close second: Mike Ross bounding into the council chambers, beverage in hand and in real danger of missing a photo op with the state champion Catholic Memorial basketball team, shouting, “Hey, wait a minute!” They did.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job Dept: Consalvo and Murphy dazzled the crowd at Michael Contompasis’s retirement party Tuesday night with what is rumored to be some rather fancy footwork. The pair donned formal-wear and placed second in a Dancing with the Stars-themed salute to the longtime school department administrator. According to reports, the duo – the competition’s only male-male team – would have won, were it not for the rather uncharitable score of negative five that Mayor Tom Menino awarded them.
Just wondering whether that first place team will be of any use when Menino has to get his education budget passed in the coming months.
Wire services contributed to this report.