“The FACTS” on Romney as Governor

2003

  • Sworn in January 3, 2003 as Massachusetts Governor.
  • Foregoes official salary for the length of term.
  • Inherited a $3 billion deficit.
  • Created 33 new fees, and increased 57 current fees doubling fees for court filings, professional regulations, marriage licenses, and firearm licenses, and increases fees for many state licenses and services.
  • Raised $501 million in new income in the first year of the fee increase.
  • Increased a special state gasoline special fee dedicated to cleanup of contamination around underground fuel storage tanks by two cents per gallon, generating about $60 million per year.
  • Deficit is reduced and credit given to a previously enacted capital gains tax increase created before Romney came into office that reduces the deficit by $1.3 billion.
  • Approved $128 million in tax changes like sales tax from Internet purchases.
  • Raised an another $181 million in additional business taxes; businesses called these tax increases, Romney called it the elimination of “loopholes”.
  • $300 million of such loopholes closed, backs away from further closings toward end of his term.
  • The state cut spending by $1.6 billion, including $700 million in reductions in state aid to cities and towns.
  • Cities and towns forced to become reliant on local revenue to pay for municipal services and schools, causing property taxes to rise five percent, their highest level in 25 years.
  • The legislature passed a measure over governor’s his veto taking away his ability to appoint a body to fill U.S. Senate vacancy.
  • Strongly opposes same-sex marriage emphasizing his desire to “protect the institution of marriage” while denouncing discrimination against gays and lesbians.
  • Attempts to block implementation of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Courty decision legalizing same-sex marriage in 2003 saying it harms the rights of children.
  • Vetoed bill funding hate crimes prevention.  Removes funding approved by his predecessor, Governor Jane Swift for a bullying prevention program.

2004

  • On May 17, 2004 the first day of implementation, instructs town clerks not to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples, except those announcing intention to relocate to the Commonwealth.
  • June 22, 2004 testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging its members to protect the “definition of marriage.”
  • On July 1, 2004, signed a permanent state ban on assault weapons.
  • First Massachusetts governor to appoint a Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs to his cabinet.
  • Vetoed bill that would allow illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates at state colleges if they graduated from a Massachusetts high school after attending it for three years and signed an affidavit they intended to seek citizenship.
  • Eliminated the Metropolitan District Commission and merged it with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
  • Established John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Program rewarding the top 25 percent of graduating high school students with a four-year, tuition-free scholarship to the state’s public universities or colleges.
  • Criticized for veto of $5.7 million in state funding for flood control in Peabody six months after the town flooded in April 2004.

2005

  • Signed legislation raising local commercial property taxes resulting in $100 million more in property taxes from local business owners.
  • Signed legislation passed in 2002 that increased capital gains tax.
  • State figures report fiscal year 2005 ended with $594.4 million surplus.
  • October 28 signed Melanie’s Bill to combat repeat drunk drivers.  Eleven months after enactment, arrests of repeat drunk drivers decreased by half, and the number of drivers agreeing to breathalyzer tests increased by more than 18 percent.
  • Accepts federal funding for faith-based organization to teach abstinence-only education in public schools.
  • July vetoed emergency contraception bill claiming it was against his “moratorium” on changes to the abortion laws.
  • Returns from vacation in New Hampshire to veto pro-life bill because it would expand emergency contraception to hospitals and pharmacies.  Lt. Govorner, Kerry Healey was prepared to sign bill into law. The legislature overwhelmingly overturns the veto making it law on September 15, 2005.
  • Says he does not support abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is threatened.
  • Veterans Day 2005, Romney signs the “Welcome Home Bill” providing guardsman reduced life-insurance premiums and free tuition and fees at Massachusetts universities and community colleges. Increases daily state active-duty pay rate from $75 to $100, increases the death benefit paid Guard members families killed in the line of duty from $5,000 to $100,000.  Creates a $1,000 bonus for Guardsman and reservists called to active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 attacks and a $500 bonus for those activated for duty elsewhere. Provides $2,000 benefit for Gold Star spouses and increases the Gold Star parents’ benefit from $1,500 to $2,000. High school diplomas are granted to veterans who dropped out to enlist in WWII, Korean or Vietnam wars.
  • Vetoed a Massachusetts bill to fund stem-cell research because the legislation allowed such cloning of human embryos.

2006

  • Legislature overturns Governor’s veto of the Massachusetts legislature vote to spending $450 million from the rainy day fund for 2007 fiscal year.
  • All of the Governor’s 250 line-item vetoes overturned in 2006 budget.
  • On April 12, signed legislation mandating all Massachusetts residents buy or obtain health insurance coverage or face a penalty (up to approximately $2000 for 2008 or equal to half of the lowest cost premium offered) in the form of an additional income tax assessment.
  • All of Romney’s vetoes of legislative bills are overturned by the Massachusetts Legislature.
  • In November 2006, used his emergency “9C authority” to cut the $450 million from the budget.
  • Legislature amends Romney’s health insurance plan, adding a Medicaid expansion for children and imposing an assessment on firms with 11 or more workers who don’t offer health coverage.
  • The General Court rejects Romney’s provision allowing high-deductible health plans.
  • State legislature overrides Romney vetoes of the health care legislation which would have included a $295-per-person fee on businesses with 11 employees or more that do not provide health insurance. His veto would have denied dental and eyeglass benefits to poor residents on the Medicaid program, and denied health coverage to senior and disabled legal immigrants not eligible for federal Medicaid.
  • Romney’s official portrait for the Massachusetts State House includes a leather binder with a medical seal representing the healthcare legislation.
  • Within four years, the law achieves its primary goal of extending coverage: in 2010 to 98.1 percent of state residents had coverage, compared to a national average of 83.3 percent.  Among children and seniors the 2010 coverage rate was even higher, at 99.8 percent and 99.6 percent respectively.
  • July offered the assistance of his state police force to municipalities dealing with increased crime rates. Offers rejected by local officials.
  • Officials from Boston Police unions complain that “if state aid hadn’t been cut in recent years, then the city’s police force might be staffed adequately to handle the crime surge.
  • September 5, denounced Harvard University for inviting former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to speak at the school.  Orders all state agencies to boycott the visit and refuses to provide state police escorts and services typically given to former heads of state.
  • July vetoes the legislature bill increasing the minimum wage to $8.00 an hour offers $7.00.  Legislature approves $8.00 increase.
  • June 2 writes each member of the U.S. Senate urging them to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
  • November 3 press release, Romney reports the account funds for the insurance benefits created in the “Welcome Home Bill” faced a $64,000 deficit.  According to the press release transferred money from the governor’s office budget to cover the deficit.
  • August 14, signed the Massachusetts Military Enhanced Relief Individual Tax (MERIT) into law.  Bill increased property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and grants veteran’s spouses killed or missing in action since September 11, 2001 full property tax exemptions for five years. After five years the spouses receive an annual $2,500 exemption under the legislation.
  • Romney’s efforts to assist Massachusetts servicemen recognized by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve.  He is presented the Pro Patria Award and the 2006 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
  • December 2, a landscaping company contracted to perform yard work at his home is reported to employ illegal immigrants. A year later the same company is reported to still be using illegal immigrants to work on his estate.  Romney fires the company.
  • December, signs agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to allow Massachusetts State Police troopers to arrest and deport suspected illegal immigrants they encounter over the course of their normal duties. (Never implemented because Governor Deval Patrick revoked it.)
  • The state’s Stabilization Fund is replenished by close of fiscal 2006 to $2.155 billion through government consolidation and reform.
  • Fiscal 2006 surplus is $720.9 million.
  • November cuts $7 million from the maintenance budget for the state’s parklands, the sixth largest state park system in the country.
  • Cuts $154,590 for environmental law enforcement, $288,900 for cleaner water in communities, and $181,886 for hazardous waste cleanup.
  • In May, heavy rains produced heavy flooding. Declares a state of emergency, mobilizes the MA National Guard, and asks President Bush to declare the flooded area a major disaster area.
  • Peabody again suffers flooding in May 2006 Romney announces that he supports spending $2 million of state money on flood control for the town.
  • Spent all or part of 212 days out of state, laying foundation for anticipated presidential campaign. The cost of the Governor’s security detail for out-of-state trips increased from $63,874 in fiscal year 2005 to a cost of $103,365 in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2006.
  • Massachusetts State Legislature overwhelmingly approves legislation signed by Romney July 14th to wrest control of the inspection of the Big Dig tunnel system from the Turnpike Authority.
  • The Department of Transportation began immediate inspections of the I-90 tunnel and pledged a “stem to stern” review of the entire Big Dig Tunnel System.
  • Romney worked with members of Congress from Massachusetts to request federal spending earmarks to benefit state transportation projects which included a safety review for the Big Dig as well as funds for local bridges and highway interchanges.

2007

  • Upon leaving office in January argued that he left the state with a large budget surplus, after he cut hundreds of millions of dollars of programs.
  • Upon taking office, successor Governor Deval Patrick said there would be a $1 billion deficit for fiscal 2008 if existing service levels were carried into the next year’s budget.
  • Patrick restored $384 million in “9C” spending cuts for fiscal 2007 that Romney made.
  • The budget for fiscal 2008 Patrick submitted in February 2007 included $515 million in spending cuts and $295 million in new corporate taxes.
  • Fiscal 2007 ended with a $307.1 million deficit and fiscal 2008 ended with a $495.2 million deficit.
  • The combined state and local tax burden in Massachusetts increased during Romney’s governorship but was below the national average.  
  • The state unemployment rate was 5.6 percent when Romney took office in January 2003. Rose to 6.0 percent in mid-2003, then steadily decreased during the remainder of Romney’s term, ending at 4.6 percent for January 2007.
  • Job growth increased at a 1.3 percent rate during Romney’s term. This ranked Massachusetts 47th out of 50 states during this period.
  • The first governor in modern Massachusetts history to deny every request for a pardon (100 requests, and 172 commutations) or commutation during his four years in office, including the request from a soldier serving in Iraq to be pardoned for a conviction at age 13 involving a BB gun.
  • As governor, Massachusetts’ per capita funding for public higher education decreased from $158 to $137, and in national rank, per capita state expenditures changed from 48th to 47th.
  • Vetoed a retroactive pay raise for unionized employees of state and community colleges.  
  • Romney issued 844 vetoes as governor the large share of which of which were overturned by one or the other of the state houses.[
 

 

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One thought on ““The FACTS” on Romney as Governor

  1. Re “illegal immigrants”…Behavior is legal or illegal. People are documented or undocumented. When Romney was transacting business with them, he might have noticed that. Perhaps time to retire archaic language used to criminalize. I’m confounded by how Romney moves back and forth on his support or lack thereof for legislation that will harm children. He’s all over the map. Some might even accuse him of being a flip flopper. Smile.

    Like

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