Huntsman campaign senior adviser John Weaver said last week that the campaign would begin a “more aggressive” stage. Based on this missive I received in my inbox criticizing Mitt Romney’s record (title: “The Romney-Obama Budget Plan: Raise Taxes”), it looks like Team Huntsman is definitely shifting away from the previous civility platform:
Jon Huntsman has been steadfast in his opposition to tax increases as a way to solve our nation’s budget deficit. Most recently, he criticized President Obama’s “rigid adherence to anti-growth tax hikes” and his reckless debt ceiling posture.
Like Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney has also criticized the President on this issue. But there’s one problem with Romney’s criticism. The Wall Street Journal reports that as Governor, Mitt Romney borrowed a page from President Obama’s playbook and used tax increases to deal with budget gaps:
“Some economists and business groups say Mr. Romney did little to lower the high cost of doing business in Massachusetts, and changed the tax code to raise additional revenue that businesses saw as tax increases.
“Faced with a projected $3 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2004, Mr. Romney eliminated certain tax preferences, and he made similar changes the following two years. The moves were condemned by businesses.”
The way that Mitt Romney solved budget deficits in Massachusetts looks very similar to what President Obama would enact today if our Republican leadership in Congress wasn’t standing strong for the American taxpayer.
Romney relied heavily on closing tax “loopholes” and raising revenue, similar to what President Obama and Congressional Democrats are proposing in Washington, D.C.
Consider the facts: Romney raised $400 million in fees during his first year alone as Governor of Massachusetts and “closed loopholes” for another $150 million in higher taxes.
Romney, who touts his economic credentials on the campaign trail, proposed $170 million in new business taxes in 2005 and only decided to withdraw that proposal when he was chastised by the business community for his anti-growth policies.
We all know that our next President will have to make historic choices on how to solve the country’s budget deficit. Republican primary voters will also face a historic choice – do they want to nominate a candidate who adopted President Obama’s budget approach as Governor of Massachusetts?