President Obama is committed to standing behind small businesses, and believes that we need to invest in what it takes to give Americans and their small businesses the best chance to succeed.
But Mitt Romney doesn’t agree. He is focused on distorting the President’s record, taking his words out of context, and attacking his commitment to helping small businesses. Instead, Romney claims his experience as a corporate buyout specialist uniquely qualifies him to create jobs and grow the economy. He made that same claim when he ran for governor of Massachusetts.
Romney believes in slashing the investments that help entrepreneurs create and grow their businesses. Maybe that’s why he vetoed or cut more than $100 million in economic development spending, cutting job training, investments in high-tech manufacturing and entrepreneurs, and support for math, science, technology, and engineering grants for students, while raising taxes and fees by almost $750 million a year. But that didn’t work out so well for Massachusetts small business owners.
Here’s what happened to small businesses in the state when Romney was governor:
Start-ups fell: Under Romney, the number of business start-ups fell by 10%, hitting their lowest point in his last year in office. Each year Romney was in office, start-up growth in Massachusetts lagged behind the national average.
Small businesses shut their doors: When Romney took office, more entrepreneurs were starting small businesses than shutting them down. When he left, the opposite was true—the number of small businesses shrank during his term.
Job creation suffered: With fewer new businesses starting, and existing small businesses closing shop, Massachusetts fell to 47th of 50 states in job creation during Romney’s term.
Today, under President Obama and Governor Deval Patrick, things are much different in Massachusetts. The state had the 7th-fastest growing economy in the country last year. When Romney was governor, Massachusetts grew almost half as fast as the nation as a whole. And businesses are starting up again. In the third quarter of 2011, the latest data available, Massachusetts had more than 5,000 new business starts for the first time since the tech boom in 2000, before Romney was governor.
President Obama has taken aggressive action to help small businesses drive the recovery. With the President cutting taxes for small businesses 18 times, taking action to help them access credit, and doubling down on investments in education, energy, and infrastructure, entrepreneurs are starting companies again. In the third quarter of 2011, the most recent data available, we saw almost 20,000 more small business starts than in the quarter that the President took office. And small businesses are hiring. Since March 2010, small businesses have added 1.8 million jobs according to private sector estimates.
We can’t afford to let Mitt Romney reverse that progress. As he makes the same promises he made when running for governor today, independent economists say Romney’s policies would make the economy worse and create no new jobs in the short term—just like what happened in Massachusetts.