Mass. Gov. won't say if he'll sign budget

Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Sunday there was "a lot to like" in the state's controversial budget proposal, but declined to say definitively whether or not he would sign it.

Patrick, in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," emphasized that labor had played a "meaningful role" in the negotiations, and that the legislation "follows my own budget proposals."

Still, he said, "I've got about ten days to review the whole budget...I think there are a couple of parts of it I want to look at more closely before I make a final decision."

The $30.6 billion budget bill, passed by Massachusetts lawmakers on Friday, would close a $1.9 billion budget gap in the state without raising taxes.

But it includes deep cuts in local aid and programs for the poor, and would limit the collective bargaining power of municipal workers on health insurance costs and in other areas.

The municipal health care proposal, which targets unions to reduce health insurance costs in cities and towns, has incited particular controversy.

"It has come a long way toward what I want," Patrick told Schieffer, of the health care proposal.

Moreover, he added, "just like in transportation or education, we have had labor at the table [for the discussions on health care]. They have a significant and meaningful role because that's a value choice we've made."

"There's a lot to like in this budget because it follows my own budget proposals," Patrick said.

Still, Patrick acknowledged deep cuts, "Just like my colleagues ... around the country had to make deep cuts in a whole host of programs in order to balance our budget.

"But those reforms and also investments in the things we know make a difference - in education, in health care, in job creation, in infrastructure - are the reasons that we're growing jobs faster than 46 other states," he argued. "We've taken a very balanced approach. Very much like the balanced approach that the president has proposed at the national level."


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