By Tiffany Harbridge
Mr. Romney and his supporters are fond of pointing to his so called ‘stellar record’ in Massachusetts. On paper Mr. Romney took the inherited budget deficit and left the state with a surplus. Today, in the interest of being informed voters, we examine this carefully.
On paper Mr. Romney’s touting of his fiscal success in MA is rather impressive, he came into office faced with a huge deficit, and granted, he did battle with the legislature to cut some spending and close corporate tax loopholes. However, most of those ‘loopholes’ consisted of written tax codes that simply were not being enforced. How novel, a Governor insists that the law be followed and that single maneuver results in $150,000.000.00 in added revenue. Go figure. Living in Massachusetts this is no big surprise to me. This is a state where our last three Speakers in the Statehouse have been brought up and convicted on federal charges. The list reads like a court roster: Charles Flaherty was convicted of felony tax fraud in 1996; Tom Finneran was convicted of federal obstruction of justice in 2007 for his role in “constructing districts intended to favor white incumbents to the detriment of candidates preferred by blacks” according to a civil case, brought by the Black Political Task Force in Massachusetts. Which Finneran then in turn perjured himself by repeatedly lying about his participation in the redistricting plan. House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi was convicted in June 2011 on corruption charges. This is only a tip of the iceberg of the documented abuse of power and corruption by elected leadership in this state. We will leave further reflection on those issues for a future story. I only bring it up to give you a bit of an inkling of what we are up against here in MA. The legislature does not have a very high regard for the law, at least not as it applies to them and their donators and friends. The rest of us, well, we are just common-folk to them-laws are just grand for us-as many as laws as possible, in fact.
Our discussion today will focus on Mr. Romney’s supposed fiscal successes in Massachusetts during his tenure as Governor.
According to an article written by Club for Growth: “When Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 through 2007, he had a mixed record on taxes. During his initial 2002 campaign, Romney refused to sign an anti-tax pledge, but he pledged to balance the budget without raising taxes and touted his fulfillment of that pledge throughout his term. But the details suggest that he broke his verbal commitment. While it is true that Governor Romney did not impose any broad-based tax hikes despite pressure from liberal special interests and an inherited budget deficit, he imposed a slew of fee hikes and tax “loophole” closures, together with spending cuts, in order to eliminate the budget gap.”
These remedies included:
- Raised service fees for highway billboards-from $200.00 to $2,000.00.
- Higher Drivers licensing fees, bar exam fees, boaters, golfers and License to Carry/FID card fees. That fee went from $25.00 to $100.00.
- The largest fee hikes were aimed at the Registry of Deeds service fees.
Many supporters argue that a fee is not equal to a tax. After all you don’t have to pay for the fee unless you are in want of the service provided. I don’t speak for all people, but in my humble opinion, the service I receive at the DMV is not worth anywhere near the amount of revenue I have personally handed over to them between licensing, titling, registering, excise tax, road tests, inspection stickers, etc. I sure didn’t receive $100.00 worth of service when obtaining my License to Carry.
He also managed to rob, pardon me, divert funds from all of the states “minor funds” in order to help balance the budget. To me, this is a game of three-card-Monty. Is the money really there? Who knows, one day it is, the next day it is not, and then it is back again – when it is convenient for the books! If corporations did that on their books, they are subject to penalties and their officers subject to jail-time. When are our so called ‘leaders’ going to begin to follow the same rules that the rest of us are bound to? The answer to that is most simple: as soon as ‘We the People” make them, and no sooner.
Editor’s Note: We’ll pick this up tomorrow with Part II