Rep: Chaotic formals finish ‘typical Beacon Hill’

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Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic legislative leaders have been holding near-daily bill signings, crowding together to tout the major laws they agreed to over the past two weeks. But the bipartisan glee over passage of five of the “big six” bills identified by Baker is not universal.

While describing energy diversification legislation calling for hydropower as “really positive” and a “solid bill,” Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo of Billerica in a radio interview this week ripped the way House and Senate leaders sprung major bills on members during a late-night session July 31 that spilled over into the early morning of Aug. 1.

“Unfortunately it was typical Beacon Hill,” Lombardo told WCAP-FM Tuesday. “Wait ’til the end of a nearly two-year session and then rush things through at midnight at the end of session. It was kind of chaotic. It was less than ideal in my opinion.”

Baker has largely refrained from criticizing Democrats for overriding scores of budget vetoes he said were needed to keep state spending in check. Lombardo, who has described a per-ride Uber fee signed by Baker as a “tax,” didn’t hesitate to portray Democrats as spendthrifts.

“It’s a major challenge because we have the CEO of the Commonwealth saying that we can’t afford to spend the money that we’re spending yet the Legislature wanted to spend every single dime,” he said, asserting that “Beacon Hill has a spending problem,” a charge Baker administration officials leveled upon taking office 18 months ago.

According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Legislature over three sessions in late July reversed $231.6 million in spending vetoes and let about $35.5 million in spending reductions stand. The foundation estimates there’s a $240 million gap in the new $39.259 billion budget.

— Written by Michael P. Norton

Copyright State House News Service