Mass. Governor Faces Friday Budget Deadline

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has not said directly what he will do with the state’s 34-billion-dollar budget. He has to act by Friday on the spending plan. Appearing on W-G-B-H radio in Boston Thursday, Patrick said a separate-but-related 500-million-dollar transportation tax bill remains a key sticking point.

“The biggest problem with the budget is that it depends on revenues that are authorized, not in the budget, but in the transportation bill, and the transportation bill I don’t like yet. There’s a lot to like about that too, but it’s portrayed as an 800-million-dollar bill when it’s not, and that’s a problem.”

Funding for the transportation bill relies – in part – on restoring tolls to the far western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike. However, tolls on much of the roadway are scheduled to be eliminated in 2017. Patrick returned the bill to the legislature with an amendment that would raise gas taxes if the tolls are phased out. Legislative leaders say they don’t support the governor’s changes. The House and Senate are not expected to act on the amendment until next week.