Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarryful of skepticism.
In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 million in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globereports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and approved only the less onerous $85 million increase.
“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Peter Nicholas, chairman of Boston Science Corporation, explained in the Jan. 6, 2008, Boston Herald. “His portrayal of himself as a reliable tax cutter,” Nicholas added, “is undercut by the facts.” Also, Romney raised the tax — from 5.3 to 9.8 percent — on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts. Nicholas called this 85 percent tax hike “an important disincentive to investment, growth, and job creation.” Joseph Crosby of the Council on State Taxation observed, “Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations.”
Romney also imposed an additional $432 million in fees for state services by creating new fees or increasing existing ones. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 such fees. He charged more money for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and lots more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.
While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains-tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and the legislators rejected.