More headlines: Mitt Romney on Budget & Economy

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2003: $500M budget cuts, including aid to cities

As he was sworn into office, the legislature overwhelmingly granted him extraordinary emergency budget-reduction powers. This was a job Romney was trained to do, for he relishes being left alone to swim around in a sea of numbers & data. When he emerged from the exercise two weeks later, he laid out his preliminary plan for closing the $650 million deficit by trimming a whopping $500 million from the state budget, including aid to cities & towns. Democrats were flabbergasted.

He had not raised taxes, although a few Democrats groused that he had imposed many new user fees, de facto taxes--ones that would hurt middle-income and poor families in the state. By the time he left office in 2006, Romney had balanced the budget over three consecutive years and generated revenue surpluses totaling $1.2 billion and resolving the $2-$3 billion shortfall he had inherited. This prompted him to boldly declare: "We have successfully closed the largest deficit in our state's history without raising taxes."

Source: An Inside Look, by R.B.Scott, p.110-111 Nov 22, 2011

2007: Help economy by investing in high-yield stocks

During a debate in Iowa, Mitt Romney was asked what we could do to help the economy. I stood there in stunned silence when he went into his well-prepared, programmed answer about how we needed to invest more in high-yield stocks. High-yield stocks! I wanted to scream out, "Let them buy stocks!" but knew that my wife and team and the rest of the country would probably think it a bit over the top. To this day, I regret not shouting because that moment was perhaps the single most revealing of what was wrong with our party. We had people leading us who knew the country club but not Sam's Club. They knew of their golf score from last week but not the price of eggs or milk. The only thing worse than not caring about people who were struggling and barely staying above water was not even knowing they were there!

Interestingly, while I was bashed for saying it in October, by January the other candidates were lip-synching virtually the same message.

Source: Do The Right Thing, by Mike Huckabee, p.123 Nov 18, 2008

Couple short-term stimulus with long-term growth boost

Q: You announced your economic stimulus package yesterday: a number of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and the price tag for your plan would be $233 billion, which is much bigger than the plan that President Bush announced. So are you saying that his is too small to do the job?

A: Well, I like mine better. And there are two reasons. One is mine has a very large dose of long-term growth incentives. It’s not just designed to be a short-term stimulus, but rather a long-term growth boost. Not only by allowing capital expenditures to be expensed over these next two years, but also lowering the corporate tax rate so that we can get more businesses to stay here and grow here. So you really have to divide my incentive plan between those things that are long-term in nature and those things that are short- term and stimulative. And I think it probably divides about 50-50.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series Jan 20, 2008

Avoid housing foreclosures to avoid recession

Q: What would be your immediate first step that you would take regarding fears of a recession?

A: I’d go aggressively after the housing market to make sure that servicing organizations combine in some cases, perhaps forming cooperatives to work together with homeowners to keep homes that are absolutely not necessary to going into foreclosure, to keep them with homeowners in them so that we don’t dump housing product in the housing market and cause a further reduction in housing prices.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Jan 13, 2008

To avoid recession, deal with housing crisis & gas prices

What do we have to do at the federal level to keep a recession from occurring?
  1. We’re going to have to make sure that we stop the housing crisis.
  2. We’re going to have to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans immediately.
  3. We’re going to have to deal with gas prices. We’re going to have to finally become energy independent and make the investments in new technology that will allow us to get there.
  4. And, finally, R&D, investments in science and technology. That’s an area where America can continue to lead the world.
It’s time for us not just to talk about improving our economy; we’re going to have to do the hard work of rebuilding our economy, strengthening it. And I know that there are some people who think that some jobs have left that are never coming back. I disagree. I’m going to fight for every single job, in every state in this country. We’re going to fight for jobs & make sure that our future is bright. We’re going to protect the jobs of Americans and grow this economy again
Source: 2008 GOP debate in S.C. sponsored by Fox News Jan 10, 2008

Giuliani increased spending by 2.8%; I held increase to 2.2%

Q: Your difference with Mayor Giuliani on tax cutting?

ROMNEY: Well, we both agree with the need to cut taxes and have fought to do so. [But] Mayor Giuliani fought to keep the commuter tax, which was a very substantial tax, an almost $400 tax on commuters coming into New York.

GIULIANI: The difference is that under Governor Romney, spending went up in Massachusetts per capita by 8%; under me, spending went down by 7%. I brought taxes down by 17%. Under him, taxes went up 11% per capita. I led, he lagged.

ROMNEY: It’s a nice line, but it’s baloney. Mayor, you got to check your facts. #1, I did not increase taxes in Massachusetts; I lowered taxes. #2, the Club for Growth looked at our respective spending record. They said my spending grew 2.2% a year; yours grew 2.8% a year. But look, we’re both guys that are in favor of keeping spending down and keep taxes down. We’re not far apart on that.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

FactCheck: Closed MA budget gap of $1.2B, not $3B

Romney again claimed that he didn’t raise taxes when governor of Massachusetts and that he faced a $3 billion budget shortfall. We have twice pointed out that Romney in fact increased fees by around $500 million during his four years as governor. Romney’s cuts in local aid also led indirectly to local tax increases (mainly in the form of property tax increases). Similarly, Romney’s claim to have closed a $3 billion budget gap is exaggerated. In fact, the gap was closer to $1.2 billion.
Source: on 2007 GOP debate at UNH Sep 5, 2007

Disagrees with reported negative study of MA economy

Q: You have said one of your top priorities is to strengthen the American economy. I want to take a look at your record of performance as governor of Massachusetts. Here it is. Your state ranked 3rd-lowest in creating new jobs during your term. Manufacturing employment dropped 14%. That was the 3rd-worst record in the country. And there was a net migration of 222,000 people from Massachusetts, a net migration. That was the 3rd-highest population loss in the country during those years. A Northeastern University study says the economic performance of Massachusetts during the Romney years was one of the worst in the country.

A: I’ve got very different statistics than you do. First of all, there were no censuses taken during that time period, and so any numbers on population are just estimates by various folks. Second, when I came in to Massachusetts, we were losing jobs every single month. Our budget was out of balance by some $3 billion. We turned that around.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews Aug 12, 2007

AdWatch: Cap discretionary spending at inflation minus 1%

[Romney’s TV ad has run mostly in Iowa and New Hampshire, since April 4]:

ROMNEY: If I’m elected president, I’m going to cap non-defense discretionary spending at inflation minus 1%. That would save $300 billion in 10 years. And if Congress sends me a budget that exceeds that cap, I will veto that budget. And I know how to veto. I like vetoes. I’ve vetoed hundreds of spending appropriations as governor. And frankly, I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington!

Source: AdWatch of 2007 campaign ad, “I Like Vetoes” Jun 28, 2007

First challenge as governor was $3B budget gap

The first challenge [of my governorship] was budgetary. I had not run for governor to manage numbers, but numbers were what stood out in our triage. During the campaign, the media reporters were unrelenting with questions about the budget: How would I fill a $1 billion budget gap in the next year’s budget?

[After the inauguration, we did a full] bottom-up analysis, resulting in some somber news. The budget gap for the next year was closer to $3 billion. Further, there was a shortfall in the current year of $600 million. Immediate cuts were necessary to prevent a possible cash crunch. The budget for the next year would test the entire administration team: finding $3 billion would be a real stretch.

The vision had already been set: it was the heart of last year’s campaign. I was determined not only to adhere to our themes, but also to fight for every single promise I had made.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p.382-383 Aug 25, 2004

Remedies for budget imbalance: cut expenses or raise revenue

When a budget is out of balance, there are two remedies: cut expenses and raise revenues. I knew from experience that I would find ways to cut costs. But how much I could cut was unclear. I knew that every day, contracts and commitments were being made that locked in spending levels. I would need to take a quick swipe at staunching the spending immediately, then launch a detailed cost containment process that would probably take months. A preliminary review of the cost numbers, however, showed there would be no way to fill the budget hole solely through cost cutting: too much was already committed or spent.

So, the answer would have to be new revenues--marketing and sales. The good news was that companies had already signed on as sponsors, most of them at higher support levels than in prior Olympics. But that was also the bad news: the usual suspects had already been rounded up.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p. 48 Aug 25, 2004

Will cut deficit and help Americans save

The GOP candidate declares that he wants to become known as the “jobs senator” by persuading the government to cut the deficit and raise Americans’ savings rate to make more capital available for companies to invest and boost employment.
Source: Peter Gosselin in Boston Globe Oct 20, 1994

No bailout for Italy; let Europe take care of Euro

Q: Should we allow Italy to fail? Should we have a stake in what's going on in the eurozone right now?

ROMNEY: Europe is able to take care of their own problems. We don't want to step in and try and bail out their banks and bail out their governments. They have the capacity to deal with that themselves. They're a very large economy. And there will be, I'm sure, cries if Italy does default, if Italy does get in trouble. And we don't know that'll happen, but if they get to a point where they're in crisis and banks throughout Europe that hold a lot of Italy debt will then face crisis and there will have to be some kind of effort to try and uphold their financial system. There will be some who say here that banks in the U.S. that have Italian debt, that we ought to help those, as well. My view is no, no, no. We do not need to step in to bail out banks either in Europe or banks here in the U.S. that may have Italian debt.

Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI Nov 9, 2011

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Mitt Romney on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(AE)
Jill Stein(G)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: Sep 22, 2012