McCain’s Opposition Research – Part 18

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 49 to the top of 53.

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

Romney Proposed – Then Backed Away From – Plan To Implement “Internet Tourism Tax” On Users Of Online Travel Booking Sites Like Expedia And Travelocity In 2005, Romney Backed Away From His Plan To Implement An “Internet Tourism Tax” After Being“Spooked By Even The Suggestion He Might Raise Taxes.”

“Governor Mitt Romney, spooked by even the suggestion he might raise taxes, has backed away from precedent-setting legislation that would have changed the way travelers pay hotel occupancy taxes when they get rooms from companies like, Expedia, and Hotwire. The rationale for the legislation was fairly simple: State and local occupancy taxes should be assessed on the rates consumers actually pay for their hotel rooms. That’s the way it works now only when a traveler buys a room directly from a hotel. When the traveler purchases a room through a third-party website, taxes are assessed on the lower wholesale rate the website paid for the room.”

(Bruce Mohl, “State Backs Off Adjusting Online Occupancy Tax,”  The Boston Globe, 2/13/05)


Plan Would Have Raised $12-18 Million In New Taxes.

“[The proposal] would have raised an estimated $12million to $18 million a year for the state by making consumers who book rooms here through travel websites pay more in state and local hotel occupancy and convention center taxes.”

(Bruce Mohl, “State Backs Off Adjusting Online Occupancy Tax,”  The Boston Globe, 2/13/05)


Romney’s Proposal “Worried Many Hotel Operators Here Who Feared They Might Get Caught In The Middle.”

“The proposed legislation worried many hotel operators here who feared they might get caught in the middle. The hotels feared the Department of Revenue might come after them for the additional tax money if the online resellers refused to voluntarily pass it along. Hotel operators worried they might have to chase the websites for the money or, worse, collect it from customers at check-in.”

(Bruce Mohl, “State Backs Off Adjusting Online Occupancy Tax,” The Boston Globe, 2/13/05)

Boston Herald Called Romney’s Plan “Pennywise And Pound Foolish.”

“Bureaucratic quibbling aside,consumers will be stuck paying higher taxes if a proposed Internet hotel tax becomes law. That sure sounds like a textbook tax increase to us. In a state where tourism is the third biggest industry with an economic impact of some$11 billion a year, it is penny wise and pound foolish to raise taxes on hotel rooms booked through Web sites like or Travelocity .com for the relative pittance of $18 million.”

(Editorial, “Hotel Tax ‘Loophole’ Sham,” Boston Herald, 7/9/04)

Romney “Got Cold Feet” And Dropped The Plan To Raise Taxes On Internet Tourism After Opposition From Low-Tax Advocates.

“The state Department of Revenue last year sought to tax all rooms the same way,no matter how they were purchased. The hotel industry blocked the measure, deriding it as an ‘Internet tourism tax.’ The department was ready to try again this year when Romney got cold feet and deleted it from a loophole-closing package. Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s communications director, said the governor dropped the initiative fort two reasons. First, it failed to pass last year and its chances this year were considered slim. Second, Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, objected to it. ‘She thought it was a tax increase,’ Fehrnstrom said.”

(Bruce Mohl, “State Backs Off Adjusting Online Occupancy Tax,” The Boston Globe, 2/13/05)

Romney Proposed And Instituted Sales Tax On Downloading Software Romney Proposed The New Tax On Downloaded Software.

“A recent proposal by Gov. Mitt Romney to tax software downloaded from the Internet has drawn mixed reactions from legislators and industry organizations.  Consumers must pay a 5 percent sales tax when they buy software in stores, but do not need to pay it when shopping online. The bill would tax programs downloaded from the internet with the state’s standard 5 percent sales tax.”

(Andrew Shapira, “Romney To Support A Sales Tax On Downloaded Software,” [Boston University] The Daily Free Press,4/25/03)

Sales Tax Applied To Downloaded Software For The First Time.

“Software that is delivered to the end user by download will, for the first time, be subject to Massachusetts sales tax starting next month. The same goes for so-called ‘load-and-leave’ delivery, through which a software maker installs the program on your computer.Lawmakers estimate the annual windfall to be somewhere along the lines of $50 million.”

(Op-ed, Cosmo Macero Jr.,“Download This: No More Free Ride On Net Software Buys,” Boston Herald, 3/7/06)

New Tax Approved “With The Full Support Of Romney.”

“The quiet tax hike was included in a package of‘loophole’ closing legislation approved last year with the full support of Romney.”

(Op-ed, Cosmo Macero Jr., “Download This: No More Free Ride On Net Software Buys,” Boston Herald, 3/7/06)

Software Sales Tax Expected To Impact Businesses The Hardest.

“[A]ccording to Department of Revenue spokesman Tim Connolly, the tax would not significantly affect the average consumer because most of the revenue would come from corporations rather than individuals.”

(Andrew Shapira, “Romney To Support A Sales Tax On Downloaded Software,” [Boston University] The Daily Free Press, 4/25/03)

Romney Signed Multistate Pact And Passed Law To Allow For Internet Sales Tax In Massachusetts Massachusetts Originally Opposed Internet Tax To Be Seen As A “High-Tech Friendly State.”

“To foster a reputation as a high-tech friendly state, Massachusetts took the lead in supporting a congressional moratorium on such taxes, which was extended in 2001 to November of 2003 with the support of President George W. Bush.Where some Main Street businesses saw unfair competition, state leaders saw the almost boundless potential of the Internet to open new markets, and Massachusetts as an incubator for new cyberspace technology.”

(Editorial,“Internet Sales Tax Shortsighted Move,” Boston Herald, 3/19/03)

Romney Endorsed Plan That Would End Moratorium On Internet Sales Tax For 35 States, Including Massachusetts.

“Now, Romney has signed onto a plan for Massachusetts to join the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, with more than 35 other states to simplify sales tax rules and ultimately clear the way for all online merchants to collect taxes and return them to the coffers of the proper jurisdiction.”

(Editorial, “Internet Sales Tax Shortsighted Move,” Boston Herald, 3/19/03)

Romney Signed Law To Enroll Massachusetts In The Multistate Collaborative.

“A new law signed by Gov.Mitt Romney enrolls Massachusetts in a multistate collaborative looking for a better way for states to collect taxes on Internet sales.”

(Steve LeBlanc, “New Law Could Pave Way For Internet Sales Taxes In Massachusetts,” The Associated Press,3/16/03)

Romney Signed Bill To Help Balance Budget.

“Romney spokeswoman Nicole St. Peter said the governor signed the bill after a suggestion from the legislature. ‘It was part of the budget balancing bill for the fiscal year‘03,’ St. Peter said.”

(Dennis Mayer, “Internet Sales Should Be Taxed, Romney Says,” [Boston University] The Daily Free Press, 4/25/03)

Romney’s Republican Predecessors Both Opposed Internet Sales Tax.

“Former Gov. Paul Cellucci and former acting Gov. Jane Swift both opposed Internet sales taxes. Swift last year vetoed the same bill Romney just signed.”

(Steve LeBlanc, “New Law Could Pave Way For Internet Sales Taxes In Massachusetts,” The Associated Press, 3/16/03)

Today, Mitt Romney Says He Will “Fight To Permanently Abolish The Death Tax” But Took “No Position” On State Estate Tax Hike In 2002

Romney Now Supports Permanent Elimination Of  Death Tax.

“As part of his agenda to lower the tax burden on the American people, Governor Romney has proposed permanently eliminating the Death Tax. Governor Romney believes you strengthen the American people by letting them keep more of their own money, and not taxing their families at death.”

(Mitt Romney, “Policy Briefing: Abolishing The Death Tax,” Press Release, 4/19/07)


“I believe that it’s simply unfair to tax people when they earn their money, then again when they save their money, and then again when they die.”

(Thomas Beaumont, “Eliminating Federal Estate Tax Good For Iowans, Romney Says,” Des Moines Register, 4/20/07)

In 2002, Massachusetts Changed Estate Tax Rules So That “Average Taxable Estate Could End Up Paying Tens Of Thousands Of Dollars In Additional Charges.”

“Thousands of Bay State residents will soon face higher Massachusetts estate taxes because of the state’s efforts to retain the ‘death tax’ even as the federal government moves to eliminate its levy. … The change in the state’s death tax, which takes effect Jan. 1, initially affects estates worth more than $700,000, according to the Revenue Department. It’s that level that is the key difference between the old and new rules, because $700,000 is below the federal standard, meaning that estates that may be exempt from the federal tax will still owe the state. Under the old rules, the state and federal exemptions were the same. The average taxable estate could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in additional charges under the new rules, which break the link between the state and the federal tax.”

(Charles A. Jaffe,“Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)

Change In Estate Tax Law Meant $30 Million To $40 Million In Higher Taxes Each Year.

“The Massachusetts Department of Revenue estimates that a rule change – made as part of last summer’s budget bill – will mean an additional $30 million to $40 million in estate tax revenues will flow into state coffers during fiscal 2004, the first full year in which the new rules are in play.”

(Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)

Romney Took “No Position” On Estate Tax Issue.  “In Massachusetts, the move was made as part of the budget bill passed last summer, but the new rules were not issued until late October. Governor-elect Mitt Romney disagreed with the tax and budget approach taken by the Legislature, but a spokesman for his office said he has no position on the estate tax issue.”

(Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe,11/15/02)

Rules Change “Will Keep State Estate Tax Revenues Flowing And Growing.”  “The change will keep state estate tax revenues flowing and growing. During fiscal 2003, which began July 1, the DOR expects to collect $125million in estate tax revenues; that will increase to as much as $165 million in fiscal 2004 – the first full year under the new rules – and go up to $190 million by fiscal 2006.”

(Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)

Salem Tax Attorney Paul Bernstein:  “People who have done estate planning need to prepare for this change, or they’ll be caught with an unpleasant surprise, owing taxes when they thought they were protected…”

(Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,”  The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)

Boston Estate Tax Planning Attorney Stephen Ziobrowski Said Rules Change Could Lead To Massachusetts Residents Fleeing State To Avoid Estate Tax.

“‘You don’t see much advice suggesting people leave Massachusetts anymore,’ said Ziobrowski, ‘but maybe attorneys will just re-draft those old letters and suggest that their clients move to Florida. … That’s where people used to go to avoid Massachusetts’s estate tax,and it may be what they start doing again.’”

(Charles A. Jaffe, “Residents Face Higher Estate Taxes,” The Boston Globe, 11/15/02)

As Governor, Romney Signed Into Law 50% Increase In State Cremation Fee, Called By Some A “New Hidden Tax On The Dead”Romney Signed “Hidden Tax On The Dead” Into Law, Raising State Fee For Cremation Services By 50%.

“The state has quietly increased the fee for cremations by 50 percent to raise money for the embattled Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, prompting outrage among funeral providers over a ‘new hidden tax on the dead.’ …Under the new law, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Mitt Romney, the current fee of $50 – which was being paid directly to medical examiners when they approved bodies for cremation – will go up to $75. The fee could go up again at the discretion of the Romney administration.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

“[A]ny Body That Is Cremated Must First Be Cleared By A Medical Examiner, Which Carries A $75Fee.”

(Jack Dew, “The Final Price,” The Berkshire Eagle, 3/25/07)

Boston Herald Questioned Romney’s Obsession With Fee Increases In Light Of Cremation Fee Hike.  “Gov.Mitt Romney is coming perilously close to deserving the reputation of a politician who’ll slap a fee on anything that moves – and sometimes that which doesn’t move. Such is the case with the administration’s new higher fee for cremation.”

(Editorial, “Here A Fee, There A Fee,” Boston Herald, 1/23/04)

Herald: Cremation Fee “Makes The Disguised Tax Argument Ever Easier To Make.”

“The cremation fee increase, coming on top of some $500 million in fees supported by the governor and Legislature last year,makes the disguised tax argument ever easier to make. We hope Romney’s budget proposal released nextweek doesn’t add fuel to this fire.”

(Editorial, “Here A Fee, There A Fee,” Boston Herald, 1/23/04)

Cremation Fee Estimated To Raise $1 Million Per Year.  “The crematories will be asked to collect the added money and send it directly to the M.E.’s Office. The state expects the income from the fees, reflecting some14,000 cremations a year, to reach $1 million.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Higher Cremation Fee’s Usefulness Was Widely Questioned, Attacked As Tax On The Poor Funeral Consumers Alliance Of Eastern Massachusetts’ Byron E. Blanchard:“This is another rip-off … It represents a sizable portion of the cost of a cremation. It’s a boondoggle.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Tax On The Poor: “The state has said it will use the revenue to increase pay to pathologists. But Blanchard and others question the value of any cremation ‘viewing’ fee altogether. They call it a tax on the poor because it boosts the price of an affordable cremation from about $200 to $275.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Graham Putnam Funeral Home’s Peter Steffan:

“Since when does the government care about poor families?They could raise the fee to $100 and the cost would just be passed along.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’”  Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Anonymous Medical Examiner: “They’ve Put A New Fee On The Backs Of The Public…”

“[A]t least one veteran examiner from Central Massachusetts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new fee and paperwork could prompt pathologists to decline doing cremations, raising the specter of bodies being left to await available medical examiners. ‘They’ve put a new fee on the backs of the public without even consulting with the medical examiners first about whether it makes sense,’ the examiner said.”

(Tom Mashberg, “Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Then-Chief Medical Examiner Was On Record As Calling Cremation Fee “Ridiculous.”

“In a 1995 article in the Boston Globe, controversial Chief M.E. Richard F. Evans, who is facing an ethics probe into his handling of the office over the past decade, derided the cremation fees as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘unnecessary.’”

(Tom Mashberg,“Cremation Fee Increase Called ‘Tax On The Dead,’” Boston Herald, 1/21/04)

Under Romney, Homeowners Saw Property Taxes Rise To Highest Level In Decades

Massachusetts Property Taxes At Highest Level In 25 Years.

“Geoffrey C. Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents cities and towns, said property taxes are soaring statewide. Because of cuts in state aid, towns collect more from property taxes than they have in 25 years, he said. … ‘Not only have property taxes gone up, but residents are paying more and getting less,’ said Beckwith.”

(Matt Carroll, “The Tax Lowdown,” The Boston Globe, 1/11/07)

Median Property Taxes Have Increased 42 Percent So Far This Decade With No Relief In Sight.

“Massachusetts property taxes, which have shot up 42 percent, on a median basis, so far this decade will continue to rise for most homeowners this year despite the softening real estate market. … Indeed, not only have property taxes grown sizably all across Massachusetts, the increases have been steady, without interruption, in each year of the decade so far. Statewide the average single-family property tax bill has grown to $3,703, from$2,577 in fiscal 2000. The 42 percent median increase in property taxes compares to a 27 percent increase in median household income for roughly the same period.”

(Thomas Caywood and Andrew Caffrey, “Prices Down, Bills Up,” The Boston Globe, 10/22/06)

Romney Cut State Aid To Cities And Towns, Forcing Property Tax Increases Throughout The State

Massachusetts Experienced Largest Property Tax Increase In A Dozen Years.

“Massachusetts residents experienced the largest two-year increase in property taxes in a dozen years as cities and towns struggled to make up for a slowdown in state aid between 2001 and 2003, according to a study released … by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.”

(Scott S. Greenberger, “Property Taxes Leap As State Aid Falls,” The Boston Globe,10/29/03)

“Per-Capita Property Taxes Climbed An Average Of 3 Percent A Year In Fiscal 2002 And 2003, Which Translates Into An Increase Of $73 For Every Man, Woman, And Child In The Commonwealth.”

(Scott S.Greenberger, “Property Taxes Leap As State Aid Falls,” The Boston Globe, 10/29/03)

Property Tax Caps Increased By Up To Six Times Due To Financial Stress On Localities.

“In another sign o fthe financial stress on cities and towns … residents in 39 communities voted to override the annual property tax limit in 2003, approving a total of $48 million in new revenue. That amount is twice as much as what was adopted in 2002 and more than six times the average between 1994 and 2000.”

(Scott S. Greenberger, “Property Taxes Leap As State Aid Falls,” The Boston Globe, 10/29/03)

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s Michael Widmer:  “Clearly the cuts from the fiscal crisis have hada direct impact in producing higher property taxes.”

(Scott S. Greenberger, “Property Taxes Leap As State Aid Falls,” The Boston Globe, 10/29/03)

Property Tax Increases “Likely To Accelerate” Because Of Romney Cuts In State Aid.

“In fiscal year2003, [state] aid decreased by about 3 percent, the first decline in more than a decade. The property tax trend is likely to accelerate … because Romney … made even deeper cuts in state aid in the current fiscal year,2004, which isn’t covered in the report.”

(Scott S. Greenberger, “Property Taxes Leap As State Aid Falls,”  The Boston Globe,10/29/03)

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