Gov.-elect Charlie Baker’s choice as the state’s new budget chief is winning praise as a fiscal disciplinarian and someone who knows the ins and outs of state government’s byzantine financial structure.
Baker, who takes office as governor in January, has selected Kristen Lepore as his future secretary of administration and finance, a cabinet level position once held by Baker himself. Lepore, 45, used to work as a fiscal-policy expert for Baker when he served as head of A&F in the 1990s. She was a full-time policy advisor during Baker’s unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010.
She’s also a former deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Paul Cellucci.
Kevin Sullivan, the former secretary of transportation under Cellucci and later secretary of administration and finance under Acting Gov. Jane Swift, told the BBJ
“She’s very smart and personable, and she was a person you enjoyed talking to and a good listener,” said Sullivan. “She’s into fiscal discipline. She’s heard all the stories before about how an agency (chief) wants more money. She has that healthy skepticism about spending requests.”
A return of a fiscal hawk is most welcome by taxpayers who have not had a steady advocate for eight years. Under the Patrick Administration the budget has exceeded growth in population and inflation. He also raised sales taxes by 25%.
We are now hearing from the tax, spend and elect coalition that long overdue but miniscule mandated tax cuts are the cause of today’s $329 million “shortfall.”
We need Lepore to stare down such claims.