, Newburyport, MA


April 6, 2013

A rebellion en route to a legacy

Big Freddy was folding his morning newspaper when I joined him.

“What’s happening?” I asked as I settled in on my side of the booth.

“Rebellion in the party’s ranks,” Freddy said.

“Which party?” I asked.

“Which party? In Massachusetts up on the Hill? You have to be kidding,” Freddy said. “Republicans don’t have enough to start a poker game, never mind a rebellion.”

“Well, they do try to get their oars in the water,” I said.

“They’re still trying to build a boat that’ll float,” Freddy said.

“So is our governor,” I said.

“Because this is his legacy time and his eye has to be on what could be next for him because he’s still young,” Freddy said.

“But this is no small thing he’s asking. He wants a $1.9 billion budget increase, which Robert A. De Leo, who you will also recall is not only the speaker of the House, he’s Democrat-in-chief, tells the governor to dream on, your governorship, because we’re looking at something a lot less.’’

“Patrick knew that going in,” I said. “He also knows there’s a lot that needs fixing for transportation and education that he says would be funded by a 1 percent income tax increase.

“He expects that would be offset by sales tax cuts of 1.75 percent. If he’s right, that would tie it in to whatever the inflation rate would be down the road.”

“And that went over like a lead balloon, and not just Republicans were in the basket,” Freddy said.

“It’s not that House and Senate Democrats don’t see the need for more revenue. They’re looking for about a quarter of what Patrick’s calling for, and they want to do it by raising the gas tax three cents a gallon.

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