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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A big ball of b-----

The wandering governor (you know our pro-choice, environmentalist) decided to drop into town for a rare sighting to say Deval Patrick and his supports were offering a "big ball of baloney" when they pegged the tax and fee increases under his administration at $965 million.

"What planet does that come from?" Romney said when asked by reporters about Patrick's contention.
Obviously not the same one as Slick Willard.

For the truth, let's turn to a source respected for it's independence long before the erudite Mr. Romney blew into town -- the Massachusetts Taxpayer's Foundation. You know the business-financed group who only Romney doubts.

"Our list is slightly smaller," MTF executive director Mike Widmer said in an interview with the Globe. He says the figure is only $740 million. Romney on the other hand, says its only $260 million. Hence his lunch meat tirade.

MTF explains the difference thusly:
In interviews with the Globe, Widmer and E. Cameron Huff, the foundation's research director, said the only significant discrepancy they found in Patrick's list was his figure of $230 million in increased costs of legal filings in connection with real estate transactions. When he proposed the fee increases, Romney used the higher amount, but actual collections have fallen $50 million to $60 million below that estimate, Huff said.
Let's do some fact-checking here: Mitt Romney said he was pro-choice. Mitt Romney said he was committed to the Commonwealth. Mitt Romney said he believed everyone, including business, needed to pay its fair share when he did the right thing and closed the tax loopholes he's now backing away from.

Mitt Romney also did the classic GOP dance about how a fee is not a tax, something I am sure your wallet recognizes as easily as mine.

But if that's not enough, let's look at some other folks' numbers. Like the Massachusetts Municipal Association, a group which lobbies for cities and towns -- and tracks the trends.

Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said huge cuts in local aid in 2003-04 to cope with the fiscal crisis continue to strain local budgets and tax bases.

"The cuts were so deep in 2003 and 2004 that there are still 113 cities and towns [out of 351] today that still receive less local aid than they did in fiscal year 2002, and that's without adjusting for inflation," said Beckwith, whose association represents the interests of local governments on Beacon Hill.

Or check out the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which unlike the MTF has been "tainted" by partisanship in its past life as the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts. Despite that bum rap, it offers pages upon pages of reports documenting the true state of affairs under the Romney-Healey administration.

But in an effort to be fair, let's give Romney mouthpiece Eric Fehrnstrom the last word:
"It ain't as bad as Deval Patrick and the cities and towns make it out to be."
Check it out for yourself and see if Eric's math is as bad as his grammar.


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