Adventures in Finance


As Paul McMorrow informed us last month, the state’s budget is screwed. Both the House and Senate versions of the 2009 budget rely heavily on the Commonwealth’s rainy day funds, and the Legislature doesn’t seem interested in our suggestion of selling ad space on the front of the State House.

We’d at least like to ascertain how much money our elected officials are going to grab from the rapidly-dwindling emergency accounts. But it looks like we’ll have to wait a little while longer since the 2009 budget is running late.

While the Legislature is spending money like a college freshman with her first credit card, the governor isn’t doing much better. The Globe reports the state overpaid for Cognos software.

Governor Deval Patrick’s administration overspent by millions of dollars when it rushed to sign a $13 million computer software contract that has since been canceled[.]

In making the purchase last year from Cognos Inc., the Patrick administration agreed to distribute the sophisticated management software to 20,000 state government users, many of whom. . . would lack either the skills or the need to use it.

So. . . Sal DiMasi was actually doing the state a favor by engaging in some questionable activities during the bidding process?

At least the state will have a $13 million refund check coming in for the fiscal year 2009, which was supposed to begin today. Instead, the House and Senate passed a temporary budget to keep the state running for the next couple of weeks as the details are worked out.

Some progress has been made. The Legislature did get around to passing a $1-per-pack hike in the cigarette tax and striking a deal on a plan to close corporate tax loopholes.

Unlike budget talks in past years, which dragged on for months past the start of the July 1 start of the fiscal year, it seems like the Legislature will get a budget to Gov. Deval Patrick soon, perhaps as early as tomorrow. Nobody likes to have a big project hanging over them when they come back from a long weekend, especially the Legislature.