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$27B State Budget Sparks Debate Among Gubernatorial Candidates

The $27 billion budget for the new fiscal year, signed on Wednesday by Gov. Deval Patrick, is already an issue in the race to be the state's next governor.

Before signing the budget, the governor vetoed almost half a billion dollars in spending that relied on federal stimulus money Congress still hasn't approved. The budget cuts aid to cities and towns by 4 percent, but most municipalities had already factored that cut in their budgets.

Patrick says the budget is balanced, but Republican candidate Charles Baker accused Patrick of relying too much on the federal stimulus and the state's rainy day fund to make it so. Baker says Patrick's reliance on the stimulus and the rainy day fund to balance the budget amounts to "kicking the can down the road."

But after signing the budget Wednesday, Patrick took Baker to task. He said in hard times, he's willing to use that money to keep services coming — adding his opponent wants to cut services before it's absolutely necessary.

"To some extent, when I hear Charlie talk about this, it's as if he's saying, 'Look, in a couple of years, a senior is not going to be able to get her services, and so let's cut her off right now,' " Patrick said.

Independent candidate and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill calls the budget "precariously balanced," relying too heavily on federal money and borrowing.

Green-Rainbow party candidate Jill Stein says she takes issue with the budget's corporate tax cuts at at time when critical services are being slashed and citizens' taxes are going up.

"We are in the process right now of reducing corporate income taxes, while the corporate tax burden is actually low in Massachusetts, relative to the other 50 states," Stein said.

This program aired on July 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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