Deval Patrick started his victory lap Tuesday night with some pretty impressive claims about Massachusetts. Some are arguably true; the others I don’t know about. Some excerpts from the bragging phase of the “state of the commonwealth”:
“Today, Massachusetts is first in the nation in student achievement, in health care coverage, in economic competitiveness, in entrepreneurial activity, in venture funding, in energy efficiency and in veterans’ services.
“Today, our biotech sector is one of the fastest growing in the world, our clean tech sector is seeing double-digit job growth, and we have trained over 100,000 people for jobs with these and other innovators.
“Today, manufacturing in our state is growing more than 50 percent faster than in the nation as a whole, and seven times the rate it did during the previous administration.
“Today, we are rebuilding our infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. Multi-family housing starts have tripled and commercial development is on the rebound.
“Today, a new 1,200 mile fiber-optic network serves to connect every community to high-speed Internet.
“Today, over 110,000 acres have been added to our conservation lands, and over two million of our residents will by this year be able to walk to a local park.
“Today, instead of leaving in droves, young people and families are moving into Massachusetts. Our population is growing again — faster than the rest of the region. We’ve reversed the long decline of past years.
“Today, we’re helping people with disabilities earn a living in workforce with dignity and to live independently, because “Community First” is a reality, not a slogan. And families whose children need it have the most comprehensive autism coverage in the nation.
“Today, our doors are open to new markets around the world through direct flights to Dublin, Madrid, Toronto, the Dominican Republic, Tokyo, Panama City, Istanbul, Dubai and Beijing; Logan saw record numbers of travelers in the last two years; and Worcester Airport is open for business.
“We have saved citizens hundreds of millions of dollars by reforming municipal health plans and the state pension system, cutting health care costs, simplifying the transportation bureaucracy, turning around under-performing schools, using flaggers instead of police details, and making auto insurance competitive. And the government that has delivered those reforms has more women and minorities in leadership positions than ever before.
“Today, our budgets are balanced, our rainy day fund is one of the strongest in the country, and we have the highest bond rating in Commonwealth history.
“And today in Massachusetts, you can marry whomever you love.”
Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how much the workers who serve up food in state university cafeterias, sweep the floors in state offices and care for toddlers and the elderly under state social services contracts are making. If it’s less than $11 an hour – the Senate-approved minimum wage hike – shouldn’t Patrick follow his friend Obama’s lead and give employees under state contracts a raise?