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Governor Romney’s Education Cuts Hurt Massachusetts and His Agenda Would Make America Less Competitive

To: Interested Parties
From: Priorities USA Action & American Bridge 21st Century

Video and Memo: Governor Romney’s Education Cuts Hurt Massachusetts and His Agenda Would Make America Less Competitive

The Massachusetts decline from 37th to 47th in job growth under Governor Mitt Romney was not just a coincidence – his cuts to job training and higher education helped make Massachusetts less competitive. Now, Romney wants give massive new tax cuts to the wealthiest while making dramatic cuts to job training and higher education on a national level.

Even with college costs increasing, Romney bragged about his cuts to higher education and his answer to a student asking about affordability was ‘shop around’ or join the military. Romney’s rhetoric on college reflects his priorities and worldview: cutting taxes for the wealthy is more important than investing in an economy that works for the middle class.

Governor Romney’s record made Massachusetts less competitive and his agenda would make America less competitive.

Background

Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth While Romney Was Governor; Manufacturing Declined by Twice National Average. According to Marketwatch, “And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last. The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.” According to the Boston Globe, “Manufacturing payroll employment throughout the nation declined by nearly 1.1 million or 7 percent between 2002 and 2006, but in Massachusetts it declined by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07; Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

2006: Romney Cut $37.8 Million For Higher Education. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The latest flare-up came after the governor used his emergency fiscal powers to cut $425-million from the state budget, including $37.8-million for higher education. College officials said the cutbacks could delay capital improvements, reduce long-promised pay increases for faculty and staff members, and lead campuses to raise student fees to cover spring-semester costs. The reductions threaten to cancel much of a $64-million, or 7 percent, spending increase approved by the state legislature just four months ago, the first significant increase in several years for public colleges.” [Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/24/06]

2003: Romney Wanted To Cut $150 Million From Higher Education Spending. According to the Boston Herald, “Romney wants to cut $150 million from state higher education spending and spin off UMass-Amherst from the rest of the university system. The move is intended to boost the campus’ stature, but those who had gathered to present the letters to legislators were skeptical.” According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, “The overall cut to higher education programs in the budget is $285 million, but this will be balanced by provisions allowing institutions to retain tuition, resulting in a net cut of $156 million.” [Massachusetts Budget And Policy Center, 3/5/03; Boston Herald, 4/3/03]

Romney Called For $100 Million In Higher Ed Cuts And $50 Million In Tuition Increases. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Romney’s higher education plan calls for $100 million in cuts, $50 million in tuition increases, adding $44 million to financial aid, and administrative reorganization. Perlman said 20 percent cuts to small community colleges might force them to increase fees.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 4/23/03]

Romney’s 2004 State Budget Proposal Increased Tuition By 15 Percent. According to The Boston Globe, “Romney’s 2004 state budget, announced Wednesday, includes a business-focused model for state colleges: a decentralized system dedicated to economic growth, which also trims $150 million from the state budget… Romney envisions saving $100 million in administrative costs, yet the plan adds a layer of regional bureaucracy. Schools should focus on training students for ‘great jobs,’ Romney said – but that priority has been in place since the administration of Governor Michael S. Dukakis. The plan’s author is a no-new-taxes Republican, yet his proposal raises most tuitions by 15 percent, which some students say is a backhanded tax increase. It asks outside business people to help craft curricula, even though faculties still hold that power exclusively. Though Romney said the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will not be privatized, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey says it will, some day.” [The Boston Globe, 3/3/03]

College And University Fees Increased By 63% As A Result Of Romney’s $140 Million In Higher Education Cuts. According to the Boston Globe, “Another shift hit students at state colleges and universities, where fees soared 63 percent during Romney’s tenure, from an average of $2,959 in 2003 to $4,836 in 2007, according to the state Board of Higher Education. The fee hikes were enacted by each campus to offset deep budget cuts of about $140 million, or about 14 percent, during the fiscal crisis.” [Boston Globe, 6/29/07]

Former Romney Backer: “Higher Education Really Stood Still” During Romney’s Time In Office. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “‘I think higher education really stood still’ in affordability and quality during Mr. Romney’s time in office, says Robert Karam, a former chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees and a onetime backer of Mr. Romney, who felt that the governor had reneged on a promise to provide more support to the university.” [Chronicle Of Higher Education, 11/23/07]

Romney Wanted To Cut $12 Million From Job Training Initiatives. According to the Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Less than a month after taking office, Romney asked the state legislature to cut $12 million in funding for job training initiatives.” [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 1/30/03]

Romney Opposed, Vetoed Workforce Training Funding. According to the Boston Globe, “Romney argues that the stimulus package that lawmakers approved was too expensive. Among other vetoes, Romney cut $4.5 million from $6 million in workforce training grants; cut in half the Legislature’s proposed $15 million “John Adams Innovation Institute,” which would provide infrastructure support to technology companies; and eliminated the $5 million “Massachusetts Technology Development Corp.” and a $2 million international tourism initiative.” According to the Boston Business Journal, “Business leaders are looking to salvage various projects following Gov. Mitt Romney’s 39 vetoes of sections of the economic stimulus bill passed earlier this month. Among those items top on the list: worker training money, international trade stimulus and tax incentives and funding for manufacturing companies …Restoring $11 million in new work force training money begged for by business leaders during the legislature’s job growth listening tour last year tops both Bosley’s and Rodrigues’ agendas.” [Boston Business Journal, 6/3/06; Boston Globe, 1/12/04]
 

Romney: “I Became Governor And We Had To Cut Back On Our State Funding Of Institutions Of Higher Learning.” At a town hall at the Garfton County Senior Center on 8/24/11 Romney said “I became governor and we had to cut back on our state funding of institutions of higher learning. We cut back – I don’t recall the exact percent but it was as much as 10% in some cases. I’m not one who says we need to be sending more federal money to state schools and universities and colleges in general.” [Mitt Romney Townhall, Garfton County Senior Center, 08/24/11]

Romney: “I’m Not One Who Says We Need To Be Sending More Federal Money To State Schools And Universities And Colleges In General.” At a town hall at the Garfton County Senior Center on 8/24/11 Romney said “I became governor and we had to cut back on our state funding of institutions of higher learning. We cut back – I don’t recall the exact percent but it was as much as 10% in some cases. I’m not one who says we need to be sending more federal money to state schools and universities and colleges in general.” [Mitt Romney Townhall, Garfton County Senior Center, 08/24/11]

Romney When Asked If He Could Help With High Interest On Federally Subsidized Loans: “Hopefully Get You A Real Good Job That Gets You Real Good Pay.” At a town hall meeting with Romney and Governor Nikki Haley on 12/17/2011, Romney was asked ”I’m in dental school and I took out a ton of federally subsidized loans and they’re at like 7.9% interest. Can you do anything about that?” to which Romney replied?) Hopefully get you a real good job that gets you real good pay.” [Romney and Governor Nikki Haley Hold a Town Hall Meeting, 12/17/2011]

Romney In March Responded to Question About College Affordability by Suggesting Students Shop Around or Join Military. According to the New York Times’ David Firestone, “There wasn’t a word about the variety of government loan programs, which have made it possible for millions of students to get college degrees. There wasn’t a word urging colleges to hold down tuition increases, as President Obama has been doing, or a suggestion that the student consider a work-study program. And there wasn’t a word about Pell Grants, in case the student’s family had a low enough income to qualify. That may be because Mr. Romney supports the House Republican budget, which would cut Pell Grants by 25 percent or more at a time when they are needed more than ever. Instead, the advice was pretty brutal: if you can’t afford college, look around for a scholarship (good luck with that), try to graduate in less than four years, or join the military if you want a free education.” [New York Times, 3/5/12]

Romney: “You Know I Wish I Could Tell You That There Is A Place To Find Really Cheap Money Or Free Money And We Could Pay For Everyone’s Education – That’s Just Not Going To Happen.” At a town hall at Capital University in Ohio, Romney was asked  “I just started law school and they are doing away with unsubsidized loans for grad students which makes it almost impossible  to pay off our debts, have a house, have a car, have a family, before we retire.  What are you going to do for people like me?” to which Romney replied: “You know I wish I could tell you that there is a place to find really cheap money or free money and we could pay for everyone’s education – that’s just not going to happen. [Mitt Romney Townhall Capital University Bexley Ohio, 2/29/12]

Romney Accused The Government Of “Taking Over The Student Loan Business.” At a town hall at Capital University in Ohio, Romney was asked  “I just started law school and they are doing away with unsubsidized loans for grad students which makes it almost impossible  to pay off our debts, have a house, have a car, have a family, before we retire.  What are you going to do for people like me?” to which Romney replied: “You know I wish I could tell you that there is a place to find really cheap money or free money and we could pay for everyone’s education – that’s just not going to happen. What’s going to have to happen is we’re going to have to have rates as low as we can possibly have.  I’d like to see more competition in the lenders.  Now the government is taking over the student loan business I think it gets less competition, I’d rather have more competition with private lenders as well as governmental lenders.” [Mitt Romney Townhall Capital University Bexley Ohio, 2/29/12]

Romney Backed GOP Budget Would Cut Grants to Help Students Go To College By Nearly 25% – 1 Million Would Lose Pell Grants Entirely. “The GOP budget plan that Romney wants to adopt would make steeper cuts to Head Start, Pell Grants and workforce training than to other programs. Romney would completely eliminate funding for a program backing remedial literacy in low-income schools, as well as federal assistance that helps low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills. Ultimately, as a result of such cuts — combined with the budget reductions passed on Obama’s watch — ‘157,000 at-risk children up to age 5 could lose education, health, nutrition, and other services under Head Start, while funds for Pell Grants that help students go to college would fall by nearly 25 percent,’ according to a CBPP analysis of the House GOP proposal.” The Huffington Post reported, “More than 1 million students would lose Pell grants entirely over the next 10 years under Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, according to an analysis that the national reform organization Education Trust provided to The Huffington Post.” [Huffington Post, 3/27/12; Washington Post, 11/4/11]

The Republican Budget Authored By Rep. Paul Ryan Would Cut Investment In Education And Training By 48 Percent. According to the Center for American Progress, “The Ryan budget cuts per capita investment in education and training by 48 percent, cutting from a current level of $426 per person to a mere $223 per person by 2022. (see Figure 1) This proposal would cut investments from K-12 education nationally, including education for children with disabilities and investments in educational innovation.” [Center for American Progress, 3/20/12]