The Boston Globe

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez Thursday fired a fiscal torpedo at Governor Charlie Baker, accusing him of bungling state finances as Massachusetts faces a daunting half-billion dollar budget gap.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez Thursday fired a fiscal torpedo at Governor Charlie Baker, accusing him of bungling state finances as Massachusetts faces a daunting half-billion dollar budget gap.

“We’ve got a governor whose whole case for being governor is he’s a great manager. And he is failing at that. And, as a result, there are real consequences to people,” he said in a telephone interview. “He has mismanaged this budget.”

The attack marks one of the first direct broadsides against the popular Republican chief executive, who bills himself as a responsible steward of the state’s $39 billion budget. The Democrat’s salvo drew the sharpest GOP response yet of the nascent campaign.

Gonzalez, like Baker, is a former state budget chief and one-time health care executive fluent in the same language of revenue spreadsheets and fiscal line items. Baker, whom polls have found to be the nation’s most popular governor, is widely expected to seek reelection next year.

In an interview Thursday, Gonzalez said Baker has endangered Massachusetts’ fiscal stability by repeatedly diverting money meant for the state’s emergency rainy day fund. He alleged Baker has lurched from budget crisis to crisis without a coherent long-term plan. And he argued the Republican has failed to properly control ballooning health care costs.

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