BOSTON — The two front-runners in the race for governor are presenting two very different views of the state. With just five days to go before the election, incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick is pressing his case that despite economic hard times, the state is moving in the right direction. In making his case for change, Republican Charlie Baker is calling the governor out of touch.
A small group of supporters greeted Baker Wednesday at the Bleacher Bar at Fenway Park. Baker came to make his case for how bad things are in Massachusetts.
“We lost jobs in August, and we had the single biggest job loss that we’ve had in Massachusetts in 20 years,” he said. “And we have a $2 billion budget deficit going forward that he governor won’t even acknowledge exits, which is a fundamental problem that has to be solved.”
Baker said he would solve that problem by reforming state government and cutting spending. And he promised not to raise taxes, something he said Patrick would be forced to do.
“The governor will raise taxes to solve that problem because that’s where he’s gone every time before, and he won’t even acknowledge that the state faces a $2 billion deficit,” he said.
Patrick said he has no plans to raise taxes, and he spent Wednesday making his case that investments in health care, education and jobs are paying off.
“Good morning, Novartis! Are you always this joyful, or is just the bagels this morning?” Patrick asked.
Patrick, who prefers to talk about the state as a glass half-full, began Wednesday at Novartis in Cambridge. He was there to celebrate plans by the Swiss pharmaceutical company to add up to 300 jobs in Cambridge.
Patrick said the expansion is due in part to the “life sciences initiative,” one of his signature spending programs, which provides tax incentives to companies like Novartis.
“And the fact that we are growing jobs faster than 46 other states is not by accident. And Novartis and investments like it are one of the reasons why,” he said.
Patrick signed the $1 billion life sciences initiative into law two years ago.
On Wednesday, Patrick and Baker presented two views of the state that couldn’t be more different. They have five days left to convince voters which view is correct.