Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick outlined his agenda this week for his last 17 months in office.
The hallmark of Patrick’s second term was supposed to be a $1.9 billion tax package to pay for transportation and education improvements. But it was rejected by the legislature and replaced with a far more modest $500 million tax hike just for transportation.
So instead of trying to push something ambitious through the legislature again, Patrick says he’ll focus on prioritizing.
“We’re going to try to get as many of the transportation projects that are on the list launched or in many cases completed," he said. "And we’re going to have to pare that list because the size of the transportation bill is not what we initially proposed.”
On education, Patrick says he wants to open more so called “innovation schools” – public schools that have more autonomy to change curriculum, budgeting and staffing than traditional pubic schools.
“I hope to be around and in schools, particularly innovation schools, to call attention to the good work, and particularly the innovative and creative work that’s going on,” he said.
The governor started the year by filing bills to reform retiree health insurance benefits, local housing authorities, and compounding pharmacies following the deadly meningitis outbreak. Those measures remain in committee.