Monday, October 3, 2011

"As media continues to vet Romney, stories on his failed record as governor pile up"

From: Brad Woodhouse, DNC Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
Date: October 3, 2011
Re: As Media Continues to Vet Romney, Stories on His Failed Record as Governor Pile Up

Over the past few days there has been a steady stream of stories on Mitt Romney that shed light on his governing record, which he has attempted to gloss over as a candidate for president. These stories range from a front page New York Times story on the taxes he raised as governor to an AP piece on his consistently below-average jobs record in Massachusetts to a Time magazine look into how Romney personally profits from his opposition to the President’s tax reform proposals.

Mitt Romney’s not campaigning on his failed record as governor; he’s literally saying anything that he thinks the Tea Party wants to hear and that current GOP primary politics demand—most recently his support for policies that would end Medicare as we know it and dismantle Social Security while providing more handouts and tax cuts to corporations, special interests, and the very wealthiest few at the expense of seniors and middle-class Americans. And since he started running for president, Romney’s had a change of heart on the issue of asking large corporations to pay their fair share.

Mitt Romney’s not one to let the facts of his failed record get in the way of his goal of being elected president. Despite his rhetoric on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney was a governor who raised taxes, failed to adequately create jobs, and had a troubled relationship with the state’s business community.

Below please find key excerpts from three stories that ran over the past few days that raise more questions about Mitt Romney’s rationale for running for president and what he would bring to the job.

This weekend’s Associated Press headline was a bit generous, "Mixed job picture when Romney was Mass. governor." By key indicators show Romney’s record was a failure.

From the AP’s Story:

Under Romney, Manufacturing Jobs Fell By A Steep 11.4 Percent. “The steepest drop during Romney's tenure came in manufacturing. The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 11.4 percent, extending a historic slide in a state whose mill towns once provided the fuel for the economic engine. Other areas that saw declines during Romney's term were jobs in publishing, movies, broadcasting and data processing, which fell by 7.1 percent, and in warehousing and utilities, which fell by 2.7 percent.” [Associated Press, 10/2/11]

Recovery Under Governor Romney Was “Slower Than The Nation As A Whole”—By The End Of Romney’s Term, National Unemployment Was Lower Than Unemployment In Massachusetts. “The recovery in Massachusetts during Romney's tenure was slower than the nation as a whole. When Romney was sworn in, the national unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, just slightly higher than Massachusetts' jobless number that month. Four years later the national unemployment rate had fallen to 4.5 percent, slightly lower than Massachusetts.” [Associated Press, 10/2/11]

Romney Added Just 40,000 Jobs By The End Of His Term, A “Modest Achievement.” “At the time, the state's unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent, compared with a low of 2.8 percent just two years earlier. The jobless rate would keep rising through Romney's first year in office, topping out at 6 percent in August of his first year. By December 2006, Romney's last full month in office, it had fallen to 4.7 percent. A drop of less than 1 percent, meaning the addition of about 40,000 jobs, may seem like a modest achievement.” [Associated Press, 10/2/11]

Yesterday’s New York Times front-page, above-the-fold piece on the taxes and fees he raised as governor is sure to cause problems for Romney with the Republican electorate—which is why he’s trying to backtrack on the issue.

From the New York Times’ story:

Romney Required Companies to Pay Nearly 20 Percent More Taxes From When He Took Office. “By the end of Mr. Romney's term, the loophole measures required companies to pay about $370 million a year in additional taxes, a nearly 20 percent increase from the period before he took office, according to an analysis of government data by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a nonprofit research group that receives financing from corporations. [New York Times, 10/2/11]

"During Mr. Romney's tenure, Massachusetts Ranked Near The Bottom—47th Out Of 50 States—In New Job Creation." [New York Times, 10/2/11]

Romney Not Only Raised State Taxes, He Encouraged Towns Raise Taxes On Commercial Properties. “When residential property tax assessments shot up in 2003, the governor signed a bill encouraging towns to offset the higher costs by lowering tax rates for homeowners but raising them for commercial properties.” [New York Times, 10/2/11]

Romney “Suddenly Reversed Course” On Empowering His Tax Commissioner And Soon Began Running For President. “Mr. Romney, who had previously seemed so immune to the pressure from the business lobby, suddenly reversed course. He yanked the proposal to empower his tax commissioner further, despite support from leading Democrats in the legislature, and scaled back by half his 2005 plan to raise $170 million in new loophole closings. ‘There was a lot of pressure on the administration not to do it,’ Mr. LeBovidge said with a hint of regret. Mr. Romney, he said, ‘felt it was not a battle worth fighting.’ By 2006, Mr. Romney was traveling the country, all but openly campaigning for the White House as a fiscal conservative. Much to Mr. Norquist's delight, Mr. Romney became the first Republican presidential candidate to sign his no-new-taxes pledge, in 2007—something he had declined to do five years earlier when he ran for governor.” [New York Times, 10/2/11]

Conservative Activist Grover Norquist Assailed Romney, Stands By Claims that Romney Raised Taxes. “Grover Norquist […] assailed the plan as a threat to free society. He likened it to ‘crossing state lines to mug someone.' […] Mr. Norquist acknowledged that he had been deeply disappointed by Mr. Romney's corporate tax overhaul. Unlike the governor, Mr. Norquist regards the changes as tax hikes. ‘They changed the laws and the rules to significantly raise taxes,’ he said. ‘That is a tax increase.’ [New York Times, 10/2/11]

This morning, Time magazine’s Michael Scherer looked at Romney’s opposition to President Obama’s “Buffett Rule” that ensures that middle-class families wouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires, and how Romney benefits from our broken tax code as it currently exists.

From Time magazine’s story:

CTJ: Romney Likely Paid 14 Percent Of His Gross Income In Federal Taxes In 2010. “Assuming that Romney declared roughly the same number of deductions as others in his income level and that his dividend and capital gains income qualified for the 15% bracket, Romney would have paid roughly 14% of his gross income in taxes to the federal government in 2010 according to Bob McIntyre, who crafts tax policy at the left-leaning Citizens for Tax Justice. … And this is exactly the dynamic that Obama and Buffett have been talking about in recent weeks: For a select group of wealthy investors, the regular income tax structure simply does not apply. (Buffett claims to pay just 17% of his net income in taxes.) It pays to be an investor in a way that it does not pay to be a high paid actor or professional sports star. If Romney made the same amount of income in 2010 as he declared, but it all came as a direct salary, McIntyre calculates that he would have paid something closer to 30% of his net income in taxes. [Time, 10/3/11]

Romney’s Tax Records Are A Political Vulnerability. “Should Romney win the Republican nomination, he will face substantial pressure to release his own tax returns. Usually such disclosures are little more than formality, but in Romney’s case, it would land him in the middle of one of the biggest policy debates of this election season.” [Time, 10/3/11]

Wealthy Americans like Romney ‘Never Pay The 35% Rate That Their Income Would Be Subject To If They Just Got A Paycheck Like Most Americans.’ People who earn as much money as Romney typically make most of it in capital gains and often deduct more than they earn in royalties, salary and interest. In other words, they never pay the 35% rate that their income would be subject to if they just got a paycheck like most Americans. [Time, 10/3/11]

First Romney image is the property of Matthew Reichbach and is used via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Second Romney image is the property of Gage Skidmore and is used via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Both images were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

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