BOSTON (WWLP) - Even though House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray teamed up against the governor to reject his changes to a major transportation-tax bill this week, Governor Deval Patrick insists he's friends with the legislative leaders.
"I think the most important thing for the public to understand is that this is not personal, we're going to be friends at the end of this no matter what the outcome is," said Patrick.
But DeLeo admits this tax issue has brought out a change.
"I respect the governor, but I have to say that this particular issue has been a different dynamic in the years that I have worked with him," said DeLeo.
Critics contend that Patrick's initial request for $2 billion dollars in new tax money overshot what legislative leaders were willing to give him. The request came as a surprise to both DeLeo and Murray who learned of the proposal the same time reporters did – during Patrick's state of the Commonwealth address in January. The state Legislature offered the governor significantly less – $500 million dollars in new taxes on gas, tobacco and other items. Patrick dismisses the idea that the small offer is a sign of his waning power
"We have had any number of big legislative victories and most of them have come not by a straight line but by zigging and zagging and pushing and pulling and that's the legislative process," said Patrick.
But as the governor's term comes to an end next year, and without plans to run for re-election, critics question his ability to persuade and fend off lame-duck status on Beacon Hill.
The resignation of Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh to join Governor Patrick's political action committee swirled rumors this week that Patrick may be considering a 2016 presidential run. Patrick has denied those rumors.