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Gov. Baker Vetoes 'Fiscally Irresponsible' Pay Raises

Gov. Charlie Baker needled the legislative pay hikes that lawmakers approved for themselves as "fiscally irresponsible," but defended the Legislature's process and stopped short of saying he'll lobby lawmakers to sustain the veto he used on the bill Friday morning.

The controversial $18 million package of pay raises for lawmakers, judges and constitutional officers was swept through the House and Senate this week with veto-proof majorities.

"For most people, the timing of this is inappropriate, and the scale and size of the adjustment is as well," Baker said Friday during a press conference in his office. He added, "We hope this action will at least ensure that the citizens have more time to make their voices heard."

Baker said hundreds of people have called his office with concerns about the pay raises and Baker implored them to "share their concerns with their own senators and representatives, many of whom agree with our decision."

Assuming the votes hold, opponents would need to flip 10 additional Democrat votes in the House or five in the Senate to sustain Baker's veto. All 41 Republicans in the House and Senate voted against the bill.

Asked whether he will lobby Democrats to flip their vote and uphold his veto, the Republican governor said he is "certainly going to talk to some of the folks who have been supportive of our position on this and see what thoughts they have about what might make sense going forward."

When a reporter pointed out that if his veto is to be upheld he'll need people who don't already agree with him to come around to his point of view, Baker said, "They're are members of both parties and members of both branches, and I think their insights on this is probably the best place for us to start."

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