After nine months of desperately trying to get anyone to talk about anything other than his record as Governor of Massachusetts, suddenly Mitt Romney wants to brag about what a fantastic job he did, and why that experience makes him more qualified for the presidency than Barack Obama.
Fine, Mitt. Let’s look at some of the highlights of your time in Boston’s top office.
During Romney’s term as Governor:
- Massachusetts plummeted from 37th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation.
- Manufacturing jobs declined at twice the national average, dropping more than 84 percent in his four-year term.
- For the first time since 1995, under Romney’s governance, the Massachusetts unemployment rate rose, and remained at 4.7 percent, above the national average, in all four years of his term.
- Long-term debt ballooned by more than $2.6 billion, leaving the people of Massachusetts with the highest per-capita debt of any state in the country.
- State spending increased every single year of his administration by 17%, 26%, 27% and 31% respectively in each of his four years in office.
- Median income in Massachusetts fell by $1,055, from $62,780 to $61,725, in Romney’s four years in office.
- Romney added a 14 percent surtax to the state’s 9.5 percent business tax rate in 2004.
- Romney raised taxes and fees by $750 million per year in each year of his term, leading to a higher state and local tax burden of $1,200 for every Massachusetts resident.
- Romney increased fees at public colleges by 63 percent.
- During first year, Romney cut funding for K-12 schools by the second-largest percentage cuts, per student, in the nation. Romney cut K-12 funding again in his second and fourth years in office.
- Romney drastically cut state aid to cities and towns, resulting in increased raising property taxes. In his first two years in office, Romney presided over a 15 percent cut in spending on unrestricted aid to cities and towns; he also cut more than 14 percent of funding for local schools. The average local property tax bill jumped more than $700 a year, or about 24 percent, to $3,962 from $3,206.
- By the end of Romney’s term, the combined state and local tax burden in Massachusetts grew from 10 percent when he took office, to 10.6 percent of income when he left.
- During Romney’s four years in office, the state experienced a growth rate of less than 1 percent, compared to 5 percent nationally.
- Romney outsourced the state’s largest government call center, sending more than 2,700 jobs to Thailand and Malaysia through a Bain Capital subsidiary.
- Romney vetoed a total of 209 jobs bills that dealt primarily with immediate-employment infrastructure jobs.
- In 2006, his last year as Massachusetts’ Governor (in which he was absent more than half of the year), Romney issued 250 vetoes, all of which were overturned by what the Romney camp dubbed a “hostile” legislature.
- 417 days: The amount of time Mitt Romney spent during his four-year term as governor on personal or political trips unrelated to his job.
- Romney presided over two-thirds of the infamous “Boston Big Dig,” which was scheduled to be completed in 1998 at an estimated cost of $2.8 billion. The Big Dig was finally completed in December 2007, at a total cost of more than $22 billion, including interest that it will not be paid off until the year 2038, due primarily to deferments Romney put into place to keep the ballooning costs off the state debt ledgers.
Romney continually tries to paint himself as the very model of a turnaround expert, portraying himself as a true leader ready to confront budget and jobs woes, social issues, and political hot-button issues. But his endless claims simply don’t jibe with reality: Massachusetts experienced an anemic recovery, stagnated unemployment, explosive debt and deficit-spending, and generated just enough job growth — a paltry 0.89 percent – for Romney to claim he left Massachusetts better than he found it.
And yet, those are the exact same conditions and “policy failures” of which he insists Barack Obama is not only guilty, but negligent, seemingly criminally.
Pot. Kettle. Black.