Would Romney Have Accepted Stimulus Funds?

by Katrina Trinko

Part of the Romney camp’s push-back to the Perry campaign’s ad today blasting Mitt Romney for changing passages in his book about the Obama stimulus is that Texas used stimulus funds to balance the state’s budget. With that in mind, note that in a 2009 CNBC interview, in response to a question about whether he’d accept stimulus funds if he was still governor of Massachusetts, Romney indicated that he would:

I can’t say that I would turn away any money that came from Washington. And last time we had a downturn — and I’d just come in as governor — Congress passed a bill to provide additional Medicaid funding to the states. And I was only so happy to receive those funds. But I can tell you that we put together our budget — and when I say “we,” I mean Republicans and Democrats. We put our budget together cutting $3 billion out of our budget without any expectation that money would come down the road. It was like a windfall. We took the opportunity to cut our costs. And as a result, we were able to put away hundreds of millions of dollars into our state rainy-day fund. So I’m — you know, I’m encouraging governors and legislators to take advantage of a very difficult time to cut out programs that really aren’t necessary, that are inefficient, that are ineffective, and to start living within the means that we have. [Emphasis mine.]

The Romney campaign noted that Romney had also stressed in his response that he wouldn’t rely on Washington funds, but would cut spending to balance the state budget. “Gov. Romney is saying governors should have followed his lead and not counted on stimulus money to balance their budget, something Perry did. Gov. Perry accepted billions of President Obama’s stimulus cash to cover up his massive budget deficit,” a Romney aide e-mails. 

Video (question asked around the 3 minute mark):