Patrick called on Congress to address the “fiscal cliff” this year, blaming uncertainty over scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts for private sector angst about expanding and the future of the economy.
“By all accounts that uncertainty and the resulting slowdown in economic growth is the direct cause of our budget challenges. Economists agree that the fiscal cliff is keeping a tremendous amount of capital on the sidelines,” Patrick said.
Patrick said $300 million this fiscal year and $1 billion in the next fiscal year is at risk for state budget writers depending on the outcome of negotiations between President Obama and Congressional leaders. “The cost of inaction is immense,” he said.
The state budget is also facing significant and still unknown costs associated with an evidence tampering debacle that has forced public officials to revisit thousands of drug cases previously thought to be settled.