Bumpy Rollout

I couldn't be at Governor Patrick's speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce yesterday morning (I was covering a slightly less painful ceremony, my nephew's bris), but wise observers Seth Gitell and Joan Vennochi say that it didn't go well. Apparently, if the area's business leaders wanted to watch a re-enactment of what they saw on TV the night before, Deval would have been better off belting out some American Idol tunes.

So, in the first 24 hours of his budget roll-out, Patrick managed to cheese off business leaders, as well as some in the media (not me, of course -- I love everybody), who were given very little detail to help their readers and viewers seperate truth from spin in Patrick's televised speech. This is one reason why, for example, some reports used the administration's figure of a $1.3 billion shortfall, while the Globe used $1.2 billion (I assume they rightly removed the $174m upward estimate in projected tax revenues), and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center says "close to one billion dollars."

Jiminy Christmas, he even managed to cheese off blind people.

I can add legislators to that list of the cheesed. Patrick informed them via a 9:45am email Tuesday morning that he would brief them on the budget in the Gardner Auditorium at 4:30 that afternoon -- too late notice for some to alter their previous commitments, and some 15 hours after the media knew about the meeting from the Governor's public schedule. And he gave them very little detail anyway, I was told by more than one lawmaker who was there. That left their staffers thoroughly in the dark Wednesday morning, as calls started coming in asking how the $950 million of "savings and efficiencies" Patrick mentioned would affect this town, this program, this job.

None of this is fatal to Patrick's budget. But each mishandled moment increases the perception that we've got a junior varsity team in there.

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