Romney (Jay LaPrete/AP)Mitt Romney likes to brag that Massachusetts received an increase in its bond rating under his leadership, but the former governor leaves out a small, but crucial, detail: The state raised tax revenues to do it.
According to documents first reported by Ben Smith of Politico, Romney's pitch in 2004 to convince Standard & Poor's to raise the state's bond rating included revenue increases of $1 million in 2003 and another $1 million in 2004. The tax increases, which also included $269 million in revenues from "closing loopholes" that were passed before Romney entered office, boosted the state's revenue intake from $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion during his tenure. As a result of those actions, coupled with spending restrictions, S&P raised the state's credit rating to double-A in 2005.
The state's efforts to increase its rating through tax increases contrasts with the Republican refusal this year to consider revenue increases of any kind on the federal level during the debt ceiling debate--a strategy that Romney supported. The final deal to raise the debt limit not only slowed the growth of spending, but, at Republican insistence, did not raise a dime of revenue. When S&P downgraded the nation's credit rating last week, Romney called President Obama's efforts a "failure."
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