Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Mitt Romney raised taxes by $740 million while he was governor of Massachusetts

Deroy Murdock explains in this Scripps Howard News Service article.

Excerpt:

Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarry full of skepticism.

In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globe reports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and only approved an $85 million increase.

“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Boston Science Corporation chairman Peter Nicholas explained in the January 6, 2008 Boston Herald. Also, Romney raised the tax on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts from 5.3 percent to 9.9 percent — an 85 percent hike.

“Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations,” the Council on State Taxation’s Joseph Crosby complained.

Romney also created or increased fees by $432 million. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 fees. Romney charged more for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), a used-car sales tax ($10 million), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.

While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day, tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for signing $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and legislators rejected.

“Romney did not even fight higher death-tax rates,” notes former California State Assembly Minority Whip Steve Baldwin, a Romney critic. “When the (Massachusetts) legislature considered this issue, Romney’s official position was ‘no position.’ This echoed Barack Obama’s ‘present’ votes in the Illinois State Senate.”

As Romney drained his constituents’ pockets, the Public Policy Institute of New York’s Cost of Doing Business Index rated Massachusetts in 2006 as America’s fourth costliest state in which to practice free enterprise. The Tax Foundation dropped Massachusetts from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to No. 36. The Tax Foundation also calculated that, under Romney, Massachusetts’ per-capita tax burden increased from 9.3 percent to 9.9 percent. In real dollars, the Romney-era per-capita tax burden grew by $1,175.71.

As if impoverishing his own taxpayers were not bad enough, Romney’s March 5, 2003 signature raised taxes on non-residents retroactive to that January 1. Perpetrating taxation without representation, Romney’s law declared that, “gross income derived from… any trade or business, including any employment,” would be taxable, “regardless of the taxpayer’s residence or domicile in the year it is received.”

Consequently, according to data furnished by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, between 2002 and 2006, New Hampshire residents who work or do business in the Bay State shipped Massachusetts $95 million above what they paid when Romney arrived. The average tax paid by New Hampshirities to Massachusetts grew by 19.1 percent, from $2,392 in 2002 to $2,850 in 2006.

Romney has a pro-abortion record and pro-gay-marriage record. Not only did he pass Romneycare in Massachusetts, but now we know that he also raised taxes. Why is he running as a Republican? I don’t see anything in his record that would cause me to believe that he is a Republican.

You can see Mitt Romney explaining all of his liberal views in his own words in these videos.

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Mitt Romney raised taxes by $740 million while he was governor of Massachusetts

Deroy Murdock explains in this Scripps Howard News Service article.

Excerpt:

Hot on the heels of his eight-vote Iowa-caucus landslide, Willard Mitt Romney is crisscrossing New Hampshire before Tuesday’s key primary. Romney is masquerading as a limited-government, free-market executive from next-door Massachusetts. From the Golden Gate to the Granite State, voters should greet Romney’s impersonation with a quarry full of skepticism.

In fact, Romney increased taxes by $309 million, mainly on corporations. These tax hikes, described by Romney apologists as “loophole closures,” totaled $128 million in 2003, $95.5 in 2004, and $85 million in 2005. That final year, Romney proposed $170 million in higher business taxes, the Boston Globe reports. However, the Bay State’s liberal, Democratic legislature balked and only approved an $85 million increase.

“Tax rates on many corporations almost doubled because of legislation supported by Romney,” Boston Science Corporation chairman Peter Nicholas explained in the January 6, 2008 Boston Herald. Also, Romney raised the tax on subchapter S corporations owned by business trusts from 5.3 percent to 9.9 percent — an 85 percent hike.

“Romney went further than any other governor in trying to wring money out of corporations,” the Council on State Taxation’s Joseph Crosby complained.

Romney also created or increased fees by $432 million. He was not dragooned into this by greedy Democratic lawmakers; Romney himself proposed these items. In 2003 alone, Romney concocted or boosted 88 fees. Romney charged more for marriage licenses (from $6 to $12), gun registrations (from $25 to $75), a used-car sales tax ($10 million), gasoline deliveries ($60 million), real-estate transfers ($175 million), and more. Particularly obnoxious was Romney’s $10 fee per Certificate of Blindness. Romney also billed blind people $15 each for discount-travel ID cards.

While Romney can take credit for a $275 million capital-gains tax rebate, property-tax relief for seniors, and a two-day, tax-free shopping holiday, he also must take responsibility for signing $740.5 million in higher taxes, plus that $85 million in business taxes that he requested and legislators rejected.

“Romney did not even fight higher death-tax rates,” notes former California State Assembly Minority Whip Steve Baldwin, a Romney critic. “When the (Massachusetts) legislature considered this issue, Romney’s official position was ‘no position.’ This echoed Barack Obama’s ‘present’ votes in the Illinois State Senate.”

As Romney drained his constituents’ pockets, the Public Policy Institute of New York’s Cost of Doing Business Index rated Massachusetts in 2006 as America’s fourth costliest state in which to practice free enterprise. The Tax Foundation dropped Massachusetts from America’s 29th most business-friendly state to No. 36. The Tax Foundation also calculated that, under Romney, Massachusetts’ per-capita tax burden increased from 9.3 percent to 9.9 percent. In real dollars, the Romney-era per-capita tax burden grew by $1,175.71.

As if impoverishing his own taxpayers were not bad enough, Romney’s March 5, 2003 signature raised taxes on non-residents retroactive to that January 1. Perpetrating taxation without representation, Romney’s law declared that, “gross income derived from… any trade or business, including any employment,” would be taxable, “regardless of the taxpayer’s residence or domicile in the year it is received.”

Consequently, according to data furnished by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, between 2002 and 2006, New Hampshire residents who work or do business in the Bay State shipped Massachusetts $95 million above what they paid when Romney arrived. The average tax paid by New Hampshirities to Massachusetts grew by 19.1 percent, from $2,392 in 2002 to $2,850 in 2006.

Romney has a pro-abortion record and pro-gay-marriage record. Not only did he pass Romneycare in Massachusetts, but now we know that he also raised taxes. Why is he running as a Republican? I don’t see anything in his record that would cause me to believe that he is a Republican.

You can see Mitt Romney explaining all of his liberal views in his own words in these videos.

Mitt Romney

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Mitt Romney’s tax returns would make him lose the election to Obama

Wall Street Banks contributions to Mitt Romney

Wall Street banks make huge contributions to Mitt Romney

From The Hill. (H/T Riehl Worldview)

Excerpt:

It’s important not to overstate the perils Romney faces. He is still by far the best-funded candidate in the race. He has a state-by-state infrastructure that is the envy of his rivals. Even if he were to lose Saturday’s South Carolina primary, he would  likely remain the overall favorite to clinch the nomination.

But the procession of errors has been striking nonetheless — and it has raised concerns among many in the GOP about his vulnerabilities in a general election contest with President Obama.

Most of Romney’s awkwardness has revolved around questions about his wealth. During a heated exchange during a debate last month, he ill-advisedly offered to bet Perry $10,000 that his own account of what he had written in one of his books was correct. Perry declined, saying he was “not in the betting business,” but the episode heightened perceptions that Romney is out of touch with most Americans.

The same pattern keeps cropping up. Earlier this week, he was asked about the effective tax rate he pays on his income, and managed to injure himself twice in the space of a few sentences. First, he acknowledged that his tax rate was “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything.” He then added: “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”

The first claim was almost certainly true. Romney’s income is believed to come chiefly from long-term investments rather than earned income, and that would indeed make him liable for capital gains tax levied at a 15 percent rate. But it still places the multimillionaire in a more lightly taxed band than many voters — something which Newt Gingrich tried to take advantage of with his mocking proposal to introduce a “Mitt Romney 15 percent flat tax.”

Perhaps even worse was Romney’s “not very much” comment. His latest financial disclosure form, which covered the period from February 2010 to February 2011, revealed that he earned $374,327 for speeches. The sum is approximately seven times the median household income in the United States.

Those remarks had been preceded by a televised debate at which he gave a muddled response about whether he would release his tax returns.

Romney flubbed the tax-return question for a second time at a debate last Thursday, eliciting boos from the crowd when he said he would “maybe” follow the example of his late father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns when running for the presidency in 1968.

Romney’s mangled syntax on these occasions seems symptomatic of a wider personal unease in discussing his finances. GOP consultants say he needs to get over that discomfort if he is to prove an effective candidate.

Another concern that I have is that Mitt Romney has $20-100 million dollars in his retirement account.

Excerpt:

Like many Americans, Mitt Romney has an individual retirement account. Unlike most Americans, Mr. Romney has between $20.7 million and $101.6 million in it, a big chunk of his fortune.

Experts on estate planning said it is highly unusual to accumulate such a considerable sum in an IRA, an investment vehicle restricted by annual contribution limits. It appears that Mr. Romney’s grew so large mostly because it holds investments in Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he helped start.

[…]Mr. Romney is one of the richest presidential candidates in decades, and his GOP opponents increasingly are trying to turn wealth into a liability. President Barack Obama is expected to do the same if the former Massachusetts governor wraps up the nomination. Mr. Romney’s tax liability has emerged as a debating point in the GOP nominating contest, a proxy for a bigger argument over who should shoulder the nation’s tax burden.

In recent days, Mr. Romney’s rivals have pressed him to release his tax returns. They have attacked him for his role at Bain Capital, the source of his wealth. When Mr. Romney revealed Tuesday that his effective federal income-tax rate had been about 15% in recent years, both the White House and GOP candidates used the number as a cudgel.

[…]Michael Whitty, a lawyer at Vedder Price in Chicago who advises private-equity executives, said it is impossible to determine from Mr. Romney’s public disclosures how the IRA grew so large. Based on its listed holdings, which include many Bain Capital vehicles, Mr. Whitty theorizes Mr. Romney may have invested in Bain funds through a 401(k)-type plan, or directed some of his Bain holdings into such a plan, which he then rolled into an IRA.

How is he going to explain that? This might be one of the reasons why Romney is not releasing his tax returns. He needs to be pounded on this by Gingrich and Santorum until he drops out – we can’t afford to choose a nominee who has no hope of beating Barack Obama.

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John Hawkins writes the most scathing anti-Romney column EVER

Quin Hillyer of the American Spectator linked to the Anti-Romney post, and he called it “The Most Scathing Anti-Romney Column, Ever”. The actual title of the post is “Five Ways Conservatives Will Have to Sell Their Souls if Romney Wins”.

Excerpt:

If you were trying to come up with the most atrocious candidate imaginable to go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama in 2012, you couldn’t do much better than Mitt Romney. He was an unpopular moderate governor who lost 2 out of the 3 major elections he’s run in and whose signature issue Romneycare is an enormous failure. Moreover, he’s so uninspiring that he makes Bob Dole look like Ronald Reagan and that’s before you consider his incessant flip-flopping that makes it impossible to really know where he stands on any issue.

Romney’s candidacy also runs counter to almost every political trend in the book right now. He’s the antithesis of everything the Tea Party stands for — a moderate establishment-endorsed, principle-free Rockefeller Republican. On the other hand, he’s like a bad guy straight out of central casting for the Occupy Wall Street crowd, a conscience-free 1 percenter who makes $10,000 bets and lectures the public about how corporations are people — while hordes of poor and middle class Americans that he fired trail in his wake telling tales of woe about how Romney made their lives into a living hell.

At one time, I thought both Gingrich and Perry were more electable than Romney. I have, however, reassessed and now believe Gingrich, Perry, Santorum, and even Huntsman, who just left the race, are ALL more electable than Mitt. It’s also worth noting that all of those candidates, including Huntsman, are more conservative than Romney. It’s mind-boggling to consider the fact that if Romney wins, the conservative base will have chosen the guy behind Romneycare over the man behind the Contract with America, America’s premier social conservative, and the best job-creating governor in America, all of whom would also be more electable.

Here we are in what may be, forgive me for the cliché, the most important election of our lifetimes and the GOP may end up choosing a candidate who’s one part Charlie Crist and one part John Kerry as our nominee. If that’s the case, conservatives should certainly vote for him over Obama. After all, Mitt Romney will undoubtedly often do the wrong thing if he becomes President, but Barack Obama will almost always fail the country. So Romney would definitely be the lesser of two evils.

Yet and still, conservatives will probably have to pay a big price if Romney becomes the nominee. Barring an unforeseen miracle, we’re not going to see someone who was a third rate, unpopular moderate governor become a great, popular, and conservative President. The idea that Republicans in Congress will keep Romney in line isn’t borne out by anything that has happened in the last decade. During the Bush years, time and time again, conservatives in Congress abandoned their principles to follow Bush’s lead. It has been much the same under Obama. Many Democrats were willing to take votes that ended their careers because they felt compelled to stick by Barack. Mitt would have little to fear from the Tea Party or the rest of the conservative base either. After all, his thinking will be, if grassroots conservatives still had any sway in the Republican Party, he wouldn’t be the nominee. What are they going to do after he gets the nomination? Vote for Obama? Same goes if he gets elected. No matter how Nixonian Mitt turns out to be, conservatives will still view our own Massachusetts version of Arnold Schwarzenegger as preferable to whatever socialist the Democrats run against him in 2016.

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am now cross-posting some of my posts at John Hawkins’ Right Wing News, since he gave me permission to guest blog there. Right Wing News is one of the top conservative blogs.

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150 evangelical leaders agree to endorse Rick Santorum after two-day conference

Rick Santorum Iowa Caucuses

Rick Santorum Iowa Caucuses

From Life News.

Excerpt:

After a Friday-Saturday meeting with more than 150 leaders and representatives of evangelical, pro-family and pro-life groups, the organizations have declared consensus support for Rick Santorum’s Republican presidential campaign.

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and a participant in last night’s private meeting, addressed a press conference call today to provide additional information about the decision and expected endorsements from some of those attending.

Perkins said the leaders of the evangelical groups came to the meeting each supporting the various different GOP candidates seeking to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Participants engaged in a question and answer session with representatives of each of the campaigns, except for former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who did not send a spokesman to the event.

After the session, the leaders discussed the presidential race amongst themselves and then undertook a three-round ballot process. Perkins said the discussion culminated in an agreement that the groups and leaders each have “an overriding passion and desire to defeat Barack Obama” this November. Although the leaders of the various organizations strongly support various candidates, they eventually decided to support Santorum.

“I think it was vigorous discussion of who they felt best represented the conservative movement and who they think had the best chance of succeeding,” he said, but adding that there would not be a “coordinated effort” amongst the groups and leaders to endorse Santorum.

“There is a hope and expectation that those represented by the constituency will make a difference in South Carolina,” he said, adding that some in attendance threw their support behind Santorum to avoid having a repeat of 2008 where conservative candidates split the vote.

Perkins indicated Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry but only Gingrich and Santorum made the final ballot. There were 114 votes on the final ballot, as some leaders had to catch returning flights home, and Santorum emerged with a majority (85) of those voting, the FRC president said.

[…]The names and groups participating were not released, but Perkins mentioned former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer as another organizer of the private meeting. He said the names of organizations and leaders participating will become public as they begin making endorsements.

[…]Last week, the pro-life group CatholicVote issued an endorsement for Santorum.

Bauer has already endorsed Santorum. I agree that Gingrich is definitely the runner-up, and would be a fine choice for conservatives, but Santorum really is the best overall. My biggest concern about this is how younger evangelicals are so apathetic when it comes to politics and have no idea how to think carefully about things like free market capitalism, abortion, marriage and peace through strength. The young evangelicals are largely illiterate, making their decisions based on emotions and intuitions, because they think that Christianity is about being “nice” so that more people like them. Oh well.

What I find interesting is when even moderate conservative bloggers – ones who are not evangelical – are beginning to notice that there is an integrity argument for Rick Santorum.

Look at this comment from Jeff Goldstein – he’s replying to some Ron Paul person, I guess:

BMoe –

We’ve talked at length about this here, so if you haven’t already done so, I’d say go back and look at the various riffs on how Santorum’s ideas of family as the unit of individual autonomy is tied to his Catholicism / Thomism. Also, how family communitarianism is not at all like collectivism.

My own belief — and James Pethokoukis took this up, as well (I believe I did a post on it), is that Santorum is reacting in the excerpt on individualism you cite, to the Objectivists — those whose ideological foundation is Rand. That is, the libertarians. You may disagree with Santorum — and there’s plenty of room to do so — but it does no good to caricature the belief. Santorum is not a collectivist. And his ideas about the family — and government’s role in nurturing that unit — amount to things like increased tax credits for producing new citizens, or increased credit for charitable giving, so that charity is taken away from the state.

And he tries to balance his own views with the constraints placed on elected officials by the Constitution, which for Santorum includes the 9th and 10th Amendments.

These are often difficult waters to traverse. But with Santorum, he tells you what he thinks and believes. For me, that’s a net positive.

Romney mouths platitudes about limited government, and yet it’s clear he doesn’t believe a word of it. Santorum believes in a social safety net for the truly disadvantaged and indigent, but he tempers that with an animus toward those who would game the system — and toward programs that have the net impact of institutionalizing dependence on government.

What I liked about Cain — he didn’t have all the answers, because he hasn’t studied every question — I like about Santorum. You can see his thinking. He shows his work.

And a bit later, same guy:

Also, BMoe, I think it pretty obvious by now I’m not a social conservative. I’m just far less bothered by them then I used to be back when I was given to accepting the caricature of such creatures.

Nowadays I see that it is the “liberal” secularists who are far more dangerous, because their God is the State, and they therefore serve their God by granting that ever more power comes from the State.

The religious folk simply want the state to leave them the f**k alone, often times. And me and my spaghetti bulbs tend to commiserate.

I think that’s right. I am not thrilled with Santorum’s blue-collar worker economic plan. I’m an investor and a white collar software engineer. I’m chaste and have no children and no plans to marry, so Santorum’s tripling of the tax deduction for children won’t help me. But what is appealing about the man is his vision: he wants more working families and he wants them to face less financial pressure if they have more children, and more choice in education. I get that. It’s not applicable to me, but I get it. I get what his vision is.

Rick Santorum at the Values Voters Summit

Here’s a 3-part speech by Rick Santorum at the Family Research Council:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

The Family Research Council is my third favorite think tank, behind the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

Here’s something to read if you can’t see the speech.

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