McCain’s Opposition Research – Part 17


Via or from BuzzFeed comes an opposition research file compiled by the McCain campaign in 2008.  The document is 194 pages long.  Pages 27 – 34  had two documents of different font size, one overlaying the other.  This post begins at the top of 45 to the top of 49

I have bolded the first word in each entry for ease of reading.

ECONOMIC ISSUES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • State spending increased at well over rate of inflation under Romney’s watch, estimated at 24% – more than$5 billion – over Romney’s final three years.
  • Under Romney, Massachusetts dramatically underperformed the rest of the nation in terms of job growth.
  • Romney has been criticized by experts for failing to deliver on issues of business development and economic growth after selling himself as the “CEO governor.”
  • 2006 report issued by quasi-public Massachusetts Technology Collaborative warned the state was losing its grip as leader in “innovation economy” and that tech job was alarmingly slow.
  • Romney left his successor to fill a budget deficit exceeding $1 billion.
  • Romney raised state fees and taxes more than $700 million per year, according to independent experts.
  • Romney raised fees by roughly $500 million in his first year alone, a figure that was highest in the nation.
  • Romney quadrupled gun licensing fees and raised fees on first responders, real estate transactions, the blind,golfers and many others.
  • Massachusetts’ state and local tax burden rose more than 7% during Romney’s administration.
  • Romney refused to endorse the Bush tax cuts in 2003, telling the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation he wouldn’t be a cheerleader for the plan.
  • Romney implemented three rounds of tax changes (which he referred to as “closing loopholes”) which increased business taxes by an estimated $400 million per year.
  • Massachusetts’ corporate tax climate now ranks 47th in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.
  • Romney proposed – then backed away from – a new internet tourism tax that would levy higher taxes on users of sites like Orbitz and Travelocity.
  • Romney enrolled Massachusetts in multi-state compact aiming to end moratorium on internet sales taxes.
  • Romney took no position on estate tax issue in 2002 and signed 50% increase in state cremation fee, which observers called “hidden tax on the dead.”

SPENDING 

On Romney’s Watch, State Spending Increased At Rate Well Above Inflation Under Romney, State Spending Increased By More Than 24% (Over $5 Billion) In Only Three Years – An Annual Increase Of 8%.

Total FY2007 spending is projected by the state to reach roughly $26.85 billion, an increase of 24.2% from the roughly $21.6 billion spent in FY04, Romney’s first full fiscal year in office.

(State Of  Massachusetts Website, “Historical Spending,”http://budget.mass.gov, 4/4/07)

 

MASSACHUSETTS STATE SPENDING: Table would not cut n’ paste

 

Romney Has Criticized The Bush Administration For Not Controlling Spending.

“In his speech, Romney gave a backhanded criticism of the current Republican administration, saying there is too much spending in Washington and that such spending should be vetoed, something President Bush has not done. But he also called for increased tax cuts coupled with increased spending on the military.”

(Mary Beth Schneider, “Romney Blasts Reid For Remarks On Iraq,” Indianapolis Star, 4/21/07)

 

To Close Budget Gap And Fund New Spending, Romney Increased Fees And Taxes By Roughly $700Million Per Year, According To Independent Experts Independent Analysis Found Romney Raised More Than $700 Million Per Year In Fees And Taxes.

“Fees and taxes have increased more than $700 million a year under Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a leading budget specialist said yesterday. Michael J. Widmer – president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which closely tracks state finances – said the state has raised roughly $740 million to$750 million per year by increasing fees and corporate taxes gained from what the Romney administration describes as ‘closing loopholes.’”

(Brian Mooney, “Analyst Puts Increase In Fees, Taxes At $700m,”  The Boston Globe, 9/27/06)

 

“[R]omney … Approved Hundreds Of Millions In Higher Fees And Fines Including Raising The Cost Of Getting A Marriage License, Filing A Court Case, Buying A House Or Renewing A Drivers License.”

(Steve LeBlanc, “Romney, In Change Of Heart, Signs No-New-Taxes Pledge,”  The Associated Press, 1/5/07)

 

Romney Fee Hikes Compared To 1980s Policies Of Then-Gov. Michael Dukakis (D).

“Politicians turning to fees when taxes are not an option is nothing new in Massachusetts history. In the early 1980s, then-governor Michael S. Dukakis swore off tax hikes, but proposed a set of fees under a package he called the Revenue Enhancement and Protection Program.”

(Joanna Weiss, “Romney Proposals On Fees Draw Fire,”  The Boston Globe, 2/28/03)

 

“A 2003 Survey Of States By The National Conference Of State Legislatures Found Massachusetts Imposed At Least $501.5 Million In Fee Hikes, Far More Than Any Other State In The Nation That Year.”

(Steve LeBlanc, “Romney, In Change Of Heart, Signs No-New-Taxes Pledge,” The Associated Press, 1/5/07)

 

 Taxpayer Watchdog Group: Romney Disguised Tax Hikes As Fee Increases.

“[Citizens for Limited Taxation]is planning a lawsuit to challenge some of the $500 million in hikes they say are tax increases disguised as fees. They include a boost in the gun permit fee from $25 to $100, and a new $3,000-a-year fee on nursing home ‘self-payers,’ or residents who are not on Medicaid.”

(Tom Benner, “Romney Promises Collide With Reality,”  The Patriot Ledger [Quincy, MA], 12/27/03)

 

Roughly 100 Days Into Romney’s Tenure, A Boston Herald Editorial Noted His “Over-Reliance” On Fee Hikes And Business Tax Increases.

“Romney’s over-reliance on new and higher fees, though, undermines his case that government is riddled with waste, and imposes a burden on working people. And this businessman’s willingness to embrace corporate tax hikes, in the guise of closing tax loopholes, could undermine the state’s economic recovery.”

(Editorial, “Romney’s 100 Days A Good Beginning,” Boston Herald, 4/11/03)

 

TAXES 

Total State And Local Tax Burden Increased More Than 7% Under Romney And Massachusetts’ Corporate Tax Climate Is Among The Nation’s Worst State And Local Tax Burden Increased By Over 7% While Romney Was Governor.
According to the Tax Foundation, Massachusetts’ state and local tax burden was 9.8% in 2002 – the year before Romney took office –and rose to 10.5% in 2006, an increase of 7.1%.
(Tax Foundation Website,http:/www.taxfoundation.org, Accessed 4/6/07)
Recent Study Found Massachusetts’ Corporate Tax Climate Ranks 47th In The Nation.
In the Tax   Foundation’s rankings of state-by-state business tax climates for 2007, only three states in the entire country were found to have a worse corporate tax climate than Massachusetts.
(Tax Foundation Website,www.taxfoundation.org,Accessed 6/15/07)
To Address State Budget Gap, Romney Implemented Three Rounds Of Tax Changes That Increased Business Taxes By Roughly $400 Million A Year, According To Most Analysts Romney Implemented Policies To Close “Corporate Loopholes” – Changes Widely Described As Tax Increases.
“Mr. Romney says he did not raise taxes, but some critics say that is not entirely accurate. There was

no broad-based tax increase – no change in the income tax, sales tax or gas tax – but Mr. Romney did increase some fees, and he instituted changes that he called closing corporate tax loopholes, which some consider a euphemism for raising corporate taxes.”

(Pam Belluck, “Romney Candidacy Puts Massachusetts Economy in Spotlight,” The New York Times, 3/16/07)

 

Boston Globe: “In All, Three Rounds Of Corporate Tax Changes Produced About $400 Million In New Revenue Annually, According To State Officials.”

“Four years ago, with Massachusetts facing a $3 billion deficit and struggling economy, Romney avoided raising income or other broad-based taxes by aggressively going after what he described as tax loopholes and by raising fees. In all, three rounds of corporate tax changes produced about $400 million in new revenue annually, according to state officials. Eventually, Romney pulled back on some $85 million of corporate tax changes when the business community objected loudly and the economy began improving.”

(Steve Bailey, “Patrick Eyes Corporate Tax Changes,”  The Boston Globe, 2/16/07)

 

 

Romney’s Policy Changes “Raised The Business Income Tax About $400 Million A Year.”

“Politicians,Paul Tsongas used to warn, too often treat the business sector as though it’s an ATM machine, tapping it constantly for cash without worrying about replenishing the account. That’s a pretty fair description of what’s been happening here in the last few years. Mitt Romney started it, closing so-called loopholes that raised the business income tax about $400 million a year.”

(Scot Lehigh, Op-Ed, “Business Climate Will Suffer With Rise In Tax Burden,”  The Boston Globe, 3/6/07)

 

In Early 2006, A “Chastened” Romney Had To Scale Back Plan To Raise $170 Million In New Business Taxes After Corporate Community Warned Such Changes Could Hurt The Economy.

“Chastened by an outcry from business leaders, Governor Mitt Romney abandoned yesterday his proposal to raise $170 million by closing corporate tax loopholes and sent legislators a stripped-down version. ‘We’ve heard very broadly from the business community that some of these tax law changes would impact jobs in the state, and we can’t afford that right now,’ said Romney’s spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom. ‘Governor Romney is a good listener, and he’s open to making adjustments in his budget where they are warranted.’”

(Scott Greenberger and Janette Neuwahl, “Romney Scales Back Tax Bill On Businesses,”  The Boston Globe, 3/26/05)

 

 

Romney’s Plan “Prompted A Loud Outcry From Fiscal Conservatives Nationally And The Business Community.”

“In the first two years as governor, the Legislature has approved his proposal to close other corporate loopholes … This year, he again proposed to eliminate what he called ‘flaws and outdated provisions’ in state tax law. But, as he tested the waters for a presidential campaign, his latest effort prompted a loud outcry from fiscal conservatives nationally and the business community, an important constituency for him.”

(Scott Greenberger and Janette Neuwahl, “Romney Scales Back Tax Bill On Businesses,” The Boston Globe, 3/26/05)

 

Beacon Hill Institute’s David Tuerck Confirms Romney Did Raise Taxes As Governor.

WALL STREET JOURNAL’S  PAUL GIGOT: “The governor claims that he closed a $3 billion fiscal gap, budget deficit without raising taxes. So did he raise taxes to do that or not?” TUERCK: “Well, he did. He raised some taxes in the form of closing corporate loopholes, as he called them.”

(Fox News’ “Journal Editorial Report,” 3/31/07)

 

Tuerck: “You can call this closing a loophole if you want … what it really is is a tax hike.”

(Charles Stein, “The Selling Of A State Tax Loophole,” The Boston Globe, 4/17/03)

 

Tax Expert Joseph Crosby “Said It’s Hard To Discern The Difference Between Romney’s Changes And Tax Increases.”

“The new governor also collected an additional $255 million from businesses by closing what he called tax loopholes. … But Joseph R. Crosby of the Washington-based Council on State Taxation, which monitors tax policy for 575 corporations, said it’s hard to discern the difference between Romney’s changes and tax increases.”

(Scott Greenberger, “Romney Often Casts Himself As Budget Hero,” The Boston Globe, 10/24/05)

 

Associated Industries Of Massachusetts’ Eileen McAnneny: “Tough To Characterize” Romney’s Actions“As Anything But A Tax Increase.”

McANNENY: “In our estimation, it’s tough to characterize [Romney’s plan to close ‘loopholes’] as anything but a tax increase … They’re not loophole closings – they are policy changes.”

(Scott S. Greenberger and Matthew Rodriguez, “Governor’s Fiscal Plan Targets Tax ‘Loopholes’,”  The Boston Globe, 3/4/04)

 

Boston Herald: “It’s A Tax Increase.”

“We take the logical view that if a policy change requires more taxes to be paid, it’s a tax increase. But no one can disagree that the end result of Romney’s plans will drive up the cost of doing business.”

(Editorial, “Closing ‘Loopholes’ Just A Tax Hike,” Boston Herald, 1/10/05)

 

National Taxpayers Union’s John Berthoud: “That’s A Tax Increase.”

“John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, retorted, ‘Closing tax loopholes and not cutting rates concurrently – that’s a tax increase. The loopholes business is sometimes patina to make it seem like it’s not really an increase.”

(AlexanderBolton, “Romney’s Tax Record Gets A Closer Look,” The Hill, 3/28/07)

 

Experts, Business Groups And Elected Officials Agree Romney Increased Taxes As Governor

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s Michael Widmer: Romney Policies Resulted In Higher Taxes.

“[O]fficials from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation say Romney has yet to come clean with national conservatives. … Foundation president Michael Widmer said several of Romney’s policies while governor resulted in higher taxes, including local aid cuts, fee hikes and changes to corporate tax codes.”

(Casey Ross and Dave Wedge, “It’s official: Mitt’s In Mix For ‘08,” Boston Herald, 2/7/07)

Widmer: “[S]aying that he didn’t raise taxes is an incomplete picture.”

(Casey Ross and Dave Wedge, “It’s official: Mitt’s In Mix For ‘08,” Boston Herald, 2/7/07)

 

Widmer:  “Many of the changes last year, and a number of these in this package, are clearly tax increases in our view.”

(Scott Greenberger and Matthew Rodriguez, “Governor’s Fiscal Plan Targets Tax ‘Loopholes’,” The Boston Globe, 3/4/04)

 

 Cato Institute: Romney’s Rhetoric On Taxes “Mostly A Myth.”

“[R]omney will likely also be eager to push the message that he was a governor who stood by a no-new-taxes pledge. That’s mostly a myth. His first budget included no general tax increases but did include a $500 million increase in various fees. He later proposed $140in business tax hikes through the closing of ‘loopholes’ in the tax code.”

(Stephen Slivinski, “Fiscal Policy Report Card On America’s Governors: 2006,” Cato Institute, 2006, p. 26)

 

Cato Awarded Romney A “C” For His 2006 Fiscal Performance.

Romney received a worse score fromCATO than Democrats Phil Bredesen (TN), John Lynch (NH) and Bill Richardson (NM).

(Cato Institute Website,www.cato.org, Accessed 1/21/07)

 

Cato’s Stephen Slivinski: “If The Spirit Is To Save Money Before You Increase Revenues, I Don’t Think Romney Has Held To The Spirit Of The No-New-Tax Pledge.”

“‘Romney’s people are trying to spin this by saying he kept his “No new taxes” pledge,’ said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at Cato. ‘I guess if you consider only personal income taxes and sales taxes, he’s within bounds. If you take a broader view, he is not.’ ‘The spirit of [anti-tax pledges] is to force governors to find more innovative ways of funding government,’ he added. ‘If the spirit is to save money before you increase revenues, I don’t think Romney has held to the spirit ofthe no-new-tax pledge.’”

(Alexander Bolton, “Romney’s Tax Record Gets A Closer Look,”  The Hill, 3/28/07)

 

National Taxpayers Union’s John Berthoud: “Once The Dollar Amount Of The Fee Exceeds Cost Of Service, We Categorize It As A Tax Hike.”

“It is legitimate for government to charge a fee for services … Once the dollar amount of the fee exceeds cost of service, we categorize it as a tax hike. When you look at those aggregate numbers it’s hard to imagine the dollars being raised for folks didn’t exceed the cost of service.”

(Alexander Bolton, “Romney’s Tax Record Gets A Closer Look,” The Hill, 3/28/07)

 

House Taxation Committee Chair Rep. Paul Casey (D):  “It’s certainly, positively, without a doubt an increase on taxes in certain categories … What the governor wants to call it is just a semantic battle.”

(Scott S. Greenberger and Matthew Rodriguez, “Governor’s Fiscal Plan Targets Tax ‘Loopholes’,” The Boston Globe, 3/4/04)

 

Former State Party Chairman Jim Rappaport (R):

“The Romney-Healey [administration’s] … biggest public relations/administrative problems [are] the Big Dig and its fee and tax increases.”

(Kimberly Atkins, “The Monday Morning Briefing,” The Boston Globe, 10/2/06)

 

American Thinker’s Selwyn Duke: “[R]emember this when Romney touts his credentials as a fiscal conservative. While he may boast of his steadfast refusal to raise taxes, it rings hollow when he turns around and mandates citizen expenditures and levies fines.”

(Selwyn Duke, “Mitt Romney: A Massachusetts Liberal For President,” The American Thinker, http://www.americanthinker.com, 1/9/07)

 

In 1994, Romney Had Supported An Inflation-Indexed Minimum Wage Hike – Which Would Have Burdened Businesses Even Further Romney Backed Indexing Minimum Wage To Inflation, Drawing Charges Of Flip-Flopping.

“Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney, who has been hammered by incumbent Democrat Edward M. Kennedy for allegedly opposing a 30-cent increase in the $4.25 minimum wage, said yesterday on national television that he

would support boosting it by even more through indexing it to inflation. Romney’s comments, made on the ABC-TV program ‘This Week,’ brought charges of flip-flopping by Kennedy spokesman Rick Gureghian, who called it ‘a double somersault. He’s desperately trying to remake himself because people now know he’s the candidate for the rich and privileged, not the working men and women of the commonwealth.’”

(Peter Howe, “Romney Recasts His Minimum-Wage Plan,” The Boston Globe, 10/17/94)

Romney Would Have Raised Minimum Wage 50 Percent More Than Ted Kennedy.

“Inflation has risen about 11 percent since the beginning of 1991, so Romney’s plan would raise the minimum wage by about 45cents, or 50 percent more than the Kennedy-proposed increase that Kennedy asserts Romney opposes.”

(Peter Howe, “Romney Recasts His Minimum-Wage Plan,” The Boston Globe, 10/17/94)

 

Romney: Minimum Wage “Ought To Be Updated … An Inflationary Increase Is Appropriate.”

“Questionedby ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, Romney said, ‘I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation. I think the minimum wage is a good thing to have in our economy and I think it ought to be updated. We’ve had some inflation since the time it was set at $ 4.25 in April 1991, so I think an inflationary increase is appropriate.’”

(Peter Howe, “Romney Recasts His Minimum-Wage Plan,” The Boston Globe, 10/17/94)

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