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More than 300 people brown-bagged it for lunch with outgoing Gov. Michael S. Dukakis at the Kennedy School of Government yesterday.
Following last week's primary elections in which he drew harsh criticism for the state's economic woes, Dukakis said he supports John R. Silber for governor because the Democratic candidate also opposes a referendum that would roll back taxes to 1988 levels.
"The impact of the [Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) petition is obvious," Dukakis said. "It will cripple our ability to provide any level of reasonable services for the citizens of this state."
Though he called Silber "hard to work with," Dukakis said he prefers the boisterous former president of Boston University over Republican candidate William F. Weld '66, who supportsCLT.
When the questions turned to Dukakis' recentdifficulties in balancing the state budget, thegovernor's answers were more subdued.
"Slipping revenues make [the state's deficit]difficult to deal with," he said. "If I could doit over again, I would slow the rate of spending,especially in 1987 and 1988."
Dukakis said he blamed some of the state'sfinancial difficulties on ineffectual leadershipon the national level over the past decade. Hesuggested that Bush might take a lesson from BoJackson.
"Every once in a while, you have to just doit," Dukakis said, "even if that means yourpopularity level goes from 80 percent to 40percent, or even to 20 percent."
Doing His Damndest
Dukakis will leave the State House for good inJanuary after eight years as Governor. He said,however, that he wouldn't let his lame duck statusslow his commitment to doing his work, and addedthat he didn't want the next governor to findthings in chaos, the way he did twice whenassuming the helm.
Dukakis said in an interview that hispriorities now were solely economic: dealing withthe budget crunch and propping up Massachusetts'faltering economy.
"I'm doing my damndest before I leave office toreach some equilibrium between revenues andexpenses," Dukakis said. "We're going to have somepainful cuts over the next few days," he added.
Dukakis had little to say about speculationsthat he would return to the Kennedy School afterstepping down in January. He said that he isinterested in teaching, but has no definite plans.
"I want to see young people turned onto publicservice, and I hope to convey a sence ofexcitement to them," Dukakis said.
"For the first three or four months, Kitty andI are going to have some fun," he added. "I'llknow better what I'm going to do at the end of theyear, so stay tuned."
Dukakis taught at Harvard after losing arenomination bid in the 1978 Democratic primary
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