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Bay State Gov. Deval Patrick spent $80,000 on a biotech conference in San Diego in June.

Gov. Deval Patrick, pols preach cuts, pay for posh perks

By Dave Wedge

Gov. Deval Patrick and lawmakers have hit the panic button over emergency budget cuts, but their economic jitters haven't dampened Beacon Hill's high season for junkets as the governor and other top officials jet off to the four corners of the earth.
Back from China, Patrick is planning a trip to Israel. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray is heading off to Ireland next month and taking Senate President Therese Murray, who just got back from Russia. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is resting up after a jaunt to Italy.
"We've got to prepare now for the economic trouble ahead," Patrick said as he warned of the possibility of cuts several weeks ago. "Our present fiscal challenges simply demand increased restraint," he added.
Murray last month made the dire prediction: "We'll be revisiting our budget probably in the late fall and (fiscal 2010) is going to be really bad," according to State House News Service.
The officials say the junketeering is necessary despite the economic state of affairs, explaining that the trips are actually official trade missions.
"We are in the midst of a hyper-competitive environment where other states and countries are competing for limited economic development opportunities," the governor's office said in a statement. "Now more than ever it is critical that we fight for every job and investment dollar."
As the officials pass each other in the airport, Patrick's office released the final tab for a five-day biotech conference in June attended by the governor and his team: $80,000.
Patrick, his economic czar Dan O'Connell and nearly a dozen staffers bedded down in $300-a-night waterfront rooms on a San Diego marina. Senate President Murray also made the San Diego excursion.
But one staffer spent the week in an $815-a-night "hospitality suite" at the Marriott San Diego Hotel & Marina, which the state rented to wine and dine conventioneers.
The hotel tab alone for the governor's team was $36,000, which included a one-night stay by Patrick and a top aide at the $488-a-night Hollywood Hilton near Sony Studios. Patrick traveled to Tinseltown following the biotech confab to meet with studio executives to promote Massachusetts' film industry.
The governor's tab is only a fraction of the actual cost, which officials have estimated at $250,000. Several other state lawmakers and staffers went on the trip, along with officials from various public and quasi-public agencies.
Patrick's contingent to China earlier this year cost taxpayers $312,000. He had weighed a trip to India as well, but aides now say that is not under active consideration.
The trips by Democratic leaders prompted another shot from the state GOP, which said Patrick "prioritizes junkets around the world instead of property tax relief."
But aides to the governor said the biotech conference attracted 20,000 representatives from high-tech companies and gave officials a platform to promote Patrick's $1 billion life science tax break package. The China trip helped land a deal for more nonstop flights from Boston to Asia and led to the opening of satellite state offices in Beijing and Shanghai, aides said.

Starbucks run, room service ... Put on Bay State's tab

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gov. Deval Patrick and his staff racked up more than $80,000 in expenses during a five-day trip to a biotech conference in San Diego in June. Among the items for which taxpayers picked up the tab :
$1,433 in meals at restaurants such as Roy's, a "Hawaiian fusion" eatery;
$14,663 for flights;
$409 for cabs;
$3,692 for an exhibition booth;
$13,220 for 5,000 eight-page Massachusetts brochures;
$1,495 for a banner; $800 for shipping, posters and other convention supplies $3,989 for a convention Web site; one $39 room service breakfast of "crunchy toast" and fresh fruit; several $6 iced lattes, chai teas, espresso shots and chocolate croissants from Starbucks. Source: Governor's office expense reports.'s_tab/

· Premium Member
5,858 Posts
Hmmmm, OK I might buy the argument that the Commonwealth needs to spend a little money to get people to invest here. But the hotel tab is bullshit, just like Cadillac Deval.
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