STATE HOUSE, BOSTON -- You get a raise, and you get a raise and you get a raise.
These may not have been the exact words used by House and Senate Democratic leaders when they pitched their caucus on a controversial $18 million package of pay hikes for lawmakers, constitutional officers and judges, but it might have been just as effective as whatever was said.
The House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday passed the big pay raise package as their first major order of business this session with veto-proof majorities. Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, blasting the scale of the raise and the process used to ram it through, but only 12 Democrats joined the cause.
So when Gov. Charlie Baker finally spoke up on Thursday night against the bill and vetoed it Friday morning, the confrontation between Baker and Beacon Hill Democrats felt more like political theater than a full-on escalation of hostilities.
The governor didn't do much to change that, prefacing his comments on the veto much the way he began and ended his State of the Commonwealth earlier in the week - with praise for the Legislature as a partner in bipartisan compromise that he hopes will continue.
It was as if Baker meant to say, "I'm sorry, guys. I have to do this. Please understand."
Locally, Rep. Jim Miceli, D-Wilmington, and Sen. Barbara L'Italien voted in favor of the package. Reps. Jim Lyons and Colleen Garry, D-Dracut, voted against it.
Any other week, and the news cycle might have belonged to Baker. The governor Tuesday night delivered a well-received address before the Legislature and a day later filed the first budget proposal in state history to top $40 billion in spending - $40.5 billion to be more precise.
Baker's address ran through scores of accomplishments, from big to small, over the first two years of his administration.
Though he once again put his foot down against new broad-based taxes, the speech was light on policy initiatives - a $4,000 tax credit for businesses hiring veterans - and heavy on paying homage to the power of cooperation and the contrast between the politics of Washington and those at home.