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Romney Economics: How Romney failed to deliver on his promises in Massachusetts

Mitt Romney continues to tell voters that his experience as a corporate buyout specialist has taught him how to create jobs and grow the economy. For those seeking proof, he says Americans should just look at his record as governor in Massachusetts.

Following his advice, here’s a brief rundown of Romney’s Massachusetts record. While the rest of the states watched their economies recover, Massachusetts lagged behind under Romney’s watch.

Not only did Romney make the same promises to Bay Staters that he is making to Americans today, he failed to deliver on each and every one of them.


Promise then: “I speak the language of business. I know how jobs are created and how jobs are lost.” [Source: Worcester debate, 10/01/02]

Romney’s results:

Promise now: “I think a private sector background is better for getting people back to work.” [Source: WTOL (Toledo, OH), 2/16/12]


Promise then: “Do not increase the state’s debt burden.” [Source: Governor Romney’s Progress Report to the People of Massachusetts, 6/29/2005, p. 22]

Romney’s results:

  • Massachusetts’ long-term debt increased by 16.4 percent, or by $2.6 billion over four years. [Source: Massachusetts Office Of The Treasurer]

  • Romney left behind a billion-dollar deficit when he left office. [Source: Boston Globe, 12/30/06]

Promise now: “I am planning on cutting the deficit down to zero.” [Source: Fox News Sunday, 2/26/12]


Promise then: “I will fight taxes at every turn. The problem with increasing taxes is that it puts a burden on working families; they can’t afford it.” [Source: Suffolk University Law School debate, 10/29/02]

Romney’s results:

  • Romney raised fees and taxes by at least $740 million a year, imposing more fee hikes in his first year in office than any other state.

  • Romney raised a gas tax by 400 percent.

  • The per capita tax burden increased by 30 percent, or more than $1,200. [Source: Tax Foundation – Massachusetts’ State and Local Tax Burden 1977-2009, accessed 3/2/12]

  • Romney’s cuts forced local governments to raise taxes and fees on residents. By the end of 2005, property taxes were at their highest in 25 years as a result of his cuts to local aid. [Source: Patriot Ledger, 12/16/05]

Promise now: “I’m not going to raise taxes on the American people.” [Source: Bloomberg TV Interview, 1/6/12]


Promise then: “I’m going to cut down the size of government ...They’re going to squeal like a stuck pig.” [Source Boston Globe, 10/25/02]

Romney’s results:

  • State spending increased by 6.5 percent each year. Romney proposed 8 percent higher spending per person.

  • State government jobs grew at six times the rate of private sector job growth. [Source:]

  • The agency Romney did try to eliminate was the one tasked with finding fraud and waste in government. [Source: Associated Press, 2/27/03]

Promise now: “I want to take Washington apart and then put it back together so it’s a lot smaller.” [Source: WLW Radio (Cincinnati, OH), 2/28/12]

Romney is right, his record provides a clear window into how his values as a corporate buyout specialist translate into leading a state in the wrong direction. And rather than learn any lesson from his record, he’s promising to repeat his failures on a national level.