January 1, 2008

The Mittster Mash: Romney Was a Tax-Raiser in Massachusetts

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:00 pm

From “The REAL Mitt Romney” Video (which is really a “view the whole thing” creation) –

At 4:45 of the vid, former Boston Herald reporter Virginia Buckingham is talking to MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, at about the time Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney announced his candidacy, about his fiscal record while he was Governor of Massachusetts:

Buckingham: I was very puzzled as I covered him from the Herald when he started raising taxes and raising fees. That fact that he’s not a fiscal conservative either I think should give voters a lot of pause about what this guy’s really all about.

Carlson: He raised taxes and he raised fees ….. But very little has been written about how he’s a big spender and a taxer. Give us the Cliff’s notes on that.

Buckingham: Well basically he came in facing as many governors did a huge budget deficit. And he did cut some growth in spending absolutely, and reorganize some of state government.

But in addition to that, unlike his immediate Republican predecessors, he raised $500 million in fees, everything from home sales to marriage licenses. And then he raised corporate taxes. And the reason that it’s not very well-known is they’re the kind of little things like taxing how a subsidiary of a corporation is filed with the Revenue Department, little things that are very hard to kind of get across to the regular voter.

At 7:30 of that same vid, Romney is seen in footage that appears to be from a 1994 US Senate campaign debate against Ted Kennedy saying:

Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush. My positions don’t talk about things you suggest they talk about. This isn’t a political issue.

In the context of 1994, “not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” meant that one was renouncing either their America-first foreign policy, the 1980s tax cuts that rocketed the economy out of the Carter-era malaise, or both.

Beginning at 7:45, the vid wraps by showing Romney in a 2007 presidential debate discussing his time as governor (Jan. 2003 – Jan. 2007):

And I was a conservative Republican in a very Democrat state.

I agree with the vid’s final thought: “Sorry Mitt …. but we don’t buy it.”

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UPDATE, Feb. 25: A future-reference item, from factcheck.org

Romney’s Tax Dodge

In a new twist on an old theme, Romney downplayed the fee increases he enacted during his tenure as governor. After moderator Chris Wallace accused Romney of raising fees “on individuals and corporations by more than $500 million,” Romney responded:

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Romney: First of all, we raised fees by $240 million in our state because we had a whole series of fees that hadn’t been raised, in some cases, in decades, so we brought them up to the cost of providing services.
Romney’s numbers aren’t entirely accurate. For one thing, in 2006 his own administration estimated the figure to be higher – $260 million. Independent estimates were higher yet. The nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimated that Romney’s fee increases resulted in “over $300 million” in additional revenue in 2004. The liberal Urban Institute – no opponent of higher taxes – estimated that Romney’s fee increases resulted in $400 million in additional revenue.

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Moreover, Romney ignores the $174 million that his own administration figures he raised through “closing loopholes” in the corporate tax structure, which amounted to a tax increase for those who were using them.

Nor is it true that all of Romney’s fee increases were aimed at providing services. Michael J. Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says, “It’s been disingenuous to say there’s no new taxes, in the sense that there’s very little connection to the fee increases and the cost of services that the fees are supposed to represent.”

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2 Comments

  1. Never before have Republicans been so close to being sold something that’s very different from what the party used to represent.

    Watching Romney turn himself into Mitt Reagan is like imagining Rick Santorum try to convince Democrats he’s to the left of Nancy Pelosi.

    Nice Job, National Review. Not.

    thevaluesvoter.spaces.live.com

    Comment by The Values Voter — January 1, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  2. #1, unfortunately NRO has had lots of help.

    Comment by TBlumer — January 2, 2008 @ 12:23 am

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