Surely, the Governor is contemplating his legacy and his place in state history. He said as much in last year’s State of the State speech, when he proposed $2 billion in tax increases to buy a legacy. His plan failed, as has so often been the case.
In this year’s State of the State, expected on January 21st, will the Governor again attempt to paint his legacy? Will he spin glorious yet dubious tales of accomplishments and heroics? Will he ignore what Al Gore might call the “inconvenient truths”?
Here we countdown 10 memorable failures of the Governor who never delivered the change and optimism he promised.
1. Witness to a Weaker Commonwealth
Governor Patrick is the only governor in the past 20 years to enjoy a super majority in both the House and the Senate. As the leader of the Democratic Party in control of the Legislature, he should have been able to deliver on every promise and every initiative he proposed.
2. A Failing Grade for Safety and Education of Children
From the state’s most vulnerable children to every public school student, the future is less bright because of the decisions and failures of the Patrick Administration.
3. He Sure Knows How to Pick ‘Em
Let’s pause here to remember some of the more memorable figures who have left a mark on Governor Patrick’s legacy:
4. Hey Big Spender
Governor Patrick has been an unabashed tax-and-spend liberal. We detail Patrick’s tax-raising record in No. 6. Let’s look at his spending habits.
5. ‘An Unconscionable Level of Gross Negligence’
More than one pundit has predicted the scandal involving the state drug lab and rogue chemist Annie Dookhan will prevent Governor Patrick from pursuing any national ambitions – an appointment as U.S. Attorney General or to the U.S. Supreme Court by his pal President Obama, or even (gasp) a run for the presidency.
6. He Actually Said, ‘I Have No Plans to Raise Taxes.’
Governor Deval Patrick leaves a legacy of historic tax increases despite campaign pledges not to raise taxes, and even one broken promise to actually lower property taxes.
7. At Least He Found Himself a Job
Governor Patrick took office with an abstract promise to “restore our hope in the future” and a concrete pledge to create 100,000 new jobs in Massachusetts.
8.The Failure of Evergreen Solar
Loss of $43 million on Evergreen Solar at Devens, a company that went belly up and left taxpayers holding the loss. Patrick has a record of helping his pet projects with tax breaks rather than helping all companies.
Desperate to save his legacy, Governor Deval Patrick vehemently defended the spectacular failure of Evergreen Solar in a recent Fox 25 interview. His pet project, Evergreen Solar received $58 million in state incentives before it sacked 800 employees, mothballed its new factory, and shipped all production to China.
9. The Most Expensive Health Care in the Nation
From Day One, Governor Deval Patrick promised to make health care more affordable.
Instead, as he prepares to leave office, health care is more expensive in Massachusetts than in any other state.
In his 2007 inaugural address, what Patrick promised and the way he promised it – his style – made people think he could deliver:
“I know we can have more accessible and more affordable health care for ourselves and our families. But it will take transparency among clinicians and health insurers, a system of care that makes more use of community settings, simplified administrative systems, and government stewardship for the good of the whole. Let’s reach for that.”
10. More Style than Substance
From his first day in office, Governor Patrick delivered style. He took his oath on the Mendi Bible, given to John Quincy Adams by freed slaves. His campaign offered soaring rhetoric of change and optimism.
His inaugural address repeated the refrain, “Let’s reach for that.” His eye for style earned him high marks during the numerous natural disaster press conferences, where he was outfitted with talking points and a fleece vest. He played the role of leader even as the public safety and transportation professionals took care of the heavy lifting. He was the sizzle; they were the steak.
Yet his focus on style over substance cut both ways.