Obama campaign attacks Romney for raising fees as governor
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Massachusetts Democratic state lawmakers closed a budget shortfall by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising fees, the latter of which was attacked in a television advertisement the Obama campaign released on Wednesday.
The ad — titled “Mosaic” — hit Romney, who has said on the stump that he closed the budget shortfall without raising taxes, for raising state fees on everything from marriage licenses to gun permits when he was governor of The Bay State for one term starting in 2003.
“When Governor Romney says we balanced the budget without increasing revenues, that’s not true at all,” said Andrew Bagley, Director of Research and Public Affairs at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a non-partisan research group. “Let’s put it this way, corporations paid more taxes after changes to the tax policy.”
Bagley said a recession in 2001 and 2002 left the commonwealth with a significant budget gap, which by law it had to close. To do so, Romney and the Democratic-controlled state legislature closed corporate tax loopholes and put in place a “wide array of fee increases” that combined brought in roughly $750 million on an annual basis. “We also used one-time revenues by dipping into a rainy day fund,” Bagley said.
The tax loophole closings from fiscal years 2003 through 2007 brought in roughly $375 million annually and the fee increases brought in roughly $375 million annually over the same period, according to a report by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
The ads are airing in the battleground states of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada, the campaign said, but would not comment on the cost of the ad buy.
“Romney increased fees for everything from milk to nursing homes, from school bus rides to poultry inspections,” the Obama campaign said in a statement. “Fees also increased for gun owners and electricians.”
A second ad released by the Obama campaign, titled “Come and Go,” accused Romney of outsourcing government jobs as governor.
“As a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to China and Mexico. As governor, he did the same thing, outsourcing state jobs to India,” the video’s narrator says
“These misleading ads are the latest effort by the Obama campaign to distract attention from the President’s failed policies that have led to high unemployment and falling incomes,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul in an emailed response to the advertisements. “Mitt Romney was a successful businessman and governor with a decades-long record of helping to create American jobs, in contrast to President Obama’s hostility to free enterprise that has left millions of Americans out of work.”
Photo credit: YouTube/BarackObama.com