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Mitt Romney's Record With The Massachusetts Budget

Romney’s Economic Performance As Governor Was One Of The Worst In The Country

Massachusetts’ Economic Performance Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” On “All Key Labor Market Measures” Under Romney. According to the Boston Globe, “As Mitt Romney pursues his bid for the presidency, his record as Massachusetts governor will come under scrutiny, including how the state’s economy performed during his administration. Our analysis reveals a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country. On all key labor market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]

Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth While Romney Was Governor. According to Marketwatch, “The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. 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. The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%.” [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

Factcheck.org: Massachusetts Only Gained 1% In Payroll Jobs Over Romney’s Term Compared To A 5.3% National Average. According to Factcheck.org, “Romney’s job record provides little to boast about. By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole.” [Factcheck.org, 1/11/08]


Romney Did Not Fix The Massachusetts Budget

Factcheck.org: Romney’s Claim To Have Closed A $3 Billion Budget Gap Is “Misleading” Because The Gap Was Closer To $1.2 Billion. According to Factcheck.org, “Similarly, Romney’s claim to have closed a $3 billion budget gap is exaggerated. In fact, the gap was closer to $1.2 billion.” [Factcheck.org, 9/6/07]

Windfall In Capital Gains Taxes Helped Cut The $3 Billion Shortfall By About $1.3 Billion” Before Romney Unveiled His First Budget Proposal. According to the Boston Globe, “…the $3 billion budget gap Romney cites never materialized. It was a prediction the administration and lawmakers made shortly after Romney took office in January 2003. Even before Romney unveiled his budget proposal at the end of February 2003, the state Department of Revenue and outside analysts said the $3 billion figure was rooted in revenue projections that were much too low. They were right: Before the year was up, a windfall in capital gains taxes helped cut the $3 billion shortfall by about $1.3 billion.” [Boston Globe, 10/24/05]

Romney $3 Billion Deficit Was Only $1.3 Billion By The Time Romney Took Office.  According to Reuters, “At a campaign rally here on Saturday, Romney’s supporters handed out flyers promoting the candidate’s economic credentials, a central theme in his campaign, saying he had ‘closed a nearly $3 billion budget deficit without raising taxes’ during his term in Massachusetts. But the $3 billion deficit projected by Romney and state legislators in January 2003 at the start of his administration never rose that high because a surge in capital gains taxes more than halved the shortfall to $1.3 billion.” [Reuters, 1/20/08]

Romney Inherited Revenues From A $1.1 Billion Tax Package That Passed The Year Before He Took Office. According to the Associated Press, “Another key Romney claim was that he was able – through a mix of spending cuts and fiscal discipline – to close a nearly $3 billion budget gap he inherited as he walked into office. While fiscal watchdogs also pegged the budget gap at about $3 billion, they point out that Romney also inherited something else – revenues from a massive $1.1 billion package of tax increases passed by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature the year before he took office. A spike in revenues in his first year in office helped cut that deficit nearly in half. ‘He was lucky. He dodged a bullet,’ said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University. ‘If he was in office a year earlier, he would have faced a very difficult choice.’” [AP, 2/4/08]


Romney Increased Spending…

Romney Increased Massachusetts Spending By 6.5% Annually. According to the New York Times, “The Romney comparison, however, included the same error. To make a truly accurate comparison with Mr. Huckabee’s tenure in office, the base year should have been 2003, prior to Mr. Romney taking office, when state spending was $22.3 billion, as opposed to fiscal year 2004, when it was $22.5 billion. So under Mr. Romney, state spending went from $22.3 billion to $28.1 billion, an annual increase of 6.5 percent. Adjusted for inflation, spending went from $20.7 billion to $21.6 billion, or a 1.1 percent increase.” [New York Times, 12/31/07]

Romney Proposed 8 Percent Higher Spending Per Person In Massachusetts Compared To Giuliani. According to FactCheck.Org, “During the Oct. 9 Republican debate, moderator Chris Matthews unleashed a mini-brawl between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani over their respective fiscal records… We find that each man was cherry-picking his numbers, sometimes in misleading ways… Looking just at the proposed numbers (adjusted for inflation) Giuliani increased total spending by 2.6 percent, while Romney increased spending by 8.1 percent. Meanwhile the population of New York City grew by around 700,000 over the course of Giuliani’s term, whereas the population of Massachusetts remained almost unchanged under Romney. Relative to the number of people using government services, Giuliani did indeed propose less spending, while Romney proposed more. Given that both men faced Democratic-controlled legislative bodies, we think it’s reasonable to compare proposals. But Giuliani’s wording was inaccurate. He would have been correct to say, ‘Governor Romney proposed 8 percent higher spending per person in Massachusetts and I proposed 7 percent less.’” [FactCheck.Org, 10/12/07]


Romney Left A Deficit To His Successor

Romney Left A $1.3 Billion Budget Gap When He Left Office. According to the New York Times, “…Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat, says he is grappling with a budget gap of $1.3 billion. And some economic analysts say Mr. Romney has exaggerated some of his successes or taken credit for improvements that had more to do with national trends. ‘When he talks about a turnaround, we really haven’t had a turnaround,’ said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that analyzes state economic policies. ‘We had a temporary fiscal respite. But we’re trailing the nation in job growth. Our job growth has been anemic.’” [New York Times, 3/16/07]

In Private, Romney Aides Warned Patrick Of A Looming Budget Deficit But Publicly Released A Budget Blueprint That Allowed Romney To Claim He Left Office With A Balanced Budget. According to the Boston Globe, “Patrick aides said Romney administration officials had been painting a grim picture of state finances in private meetings last month and this month. In the Nov. 27 presentation to Patrick’s budget advisers, Romney aides projected a budget deficit for fiscal 2008, which begins in July, of between $400 million and $1.1 billion. The deficit assumed that state tax revenues would grow by 3 percent. That number was also contained in an official bond document the Romney administration sent to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 10. This week, however, Romney aides publicly released a budget blueprint that predicted revenues would increase by 4.8 percent, which would lessen any potential deficit. The blueprint also ignored some expenses, including funding some pension debt. ‘It’s a self-serving, political document,’ Crosby said. ‘What they said to us a month ago,’ he added, ‘was honest and appropriate and off the record. What they’ve done is go back and tweaked all the assumptions so Romney can say he left a balanced budget.’ The Romney spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, declined to comment on what Patrick’s aides see as a discrepancy between the private briefings and the rosier public blueprint.” [Boston Globe, 12/30/06]

Patrick Aides: Romney’s Public Budget Blueprint Was Designed To Make The State’s Finances Look Healthier As Romney Prepared To Run For President. According to the Boston Globe, “Aides to Governor-elect Deval Patrick said yesterday that the state is facing a deficit that could reach $1 billion next year, a looming budget gap that observers say could force Patrick to scale back his ambitious agenda, slash spending, or raise taxes. Patrick’s aides said a Romney administration budget blueprint, released this week, was based on overly optimistic revenue and spending data and aimed at making the state’s finances appear healthier than they are as Romney leaves the State House next week for a probable presidential run. The aides said that privately, Romney aides warned them last month that state finances were in much rougher shape.” [Boston Globe, 12/30/06]

Bi-Partisan Budget Official: Romney’s Balanced Budget Was “Definitely Made-Up Artifice.” According to the New York Times, Stephen Crosby, a high-ranking budget official in two Republican administrations and budget advisor to Governor Patrick, said, ‘When he went out the door, he announces a budget that is ostensibly a balanced budget and that was definitely made-up artifice.’” [New York Times, 3/16/07]


Massachusetts Borrowed $2.25 B Under Romney To Pay Its Bills

Under Romney, Massachusetts Borrowed A Total Of $2.25 Billon To Pay Its Bills. According to the Associated Press, “The Romney administration and the Democratic state treasurer are warning legislators that $900 million the state is borrowing to pay its end-of-year bills could be a problem if 2007 revenues fall short of expectations. In a joint letter to lawmakers on Monday, Treasurer Tim Cahill and Secretary of Administration Thomas Trimarco said the state will borrow $600 million this month in addition to $300 million borrowed last month. The state is borrowing, as it has in recent years, to cover a cash flow shortage and meet local aid payments to cities and towns. The revenue to cover the spending won’t come in until the first half of next year… Last fiscal year, according to figures from Gov. Mitt Romney’s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, the state borrowed $200 million at this point in the fiscal year, which ends June 30. In fiscal year 2005 the state borrowed $700 million, and in fiscal 2004 it borrowed $450 million.” [AP, 12/5/06; $900M+$200M+$700M+$450M =$2.25B]