Mitt Romney: Mitt Romney Has Been Nicknamed "Multiple-Choice Mitt" Because He Has Taken So Many Contradictory Stances
Eddlem, Thomas R., The New American
Mitt Romney's candidacy is something of a miracle. "Miracle Mitt" continues to claim--falsely--that he didn't seek to raise taxes as Massachusetts Governor. And he appears to be getting away with it, as enough Republican voters remain ignorant of his record for Mitt to retain his "frontrunner" status in the 2012 Republican presidential primary race.
The Cato Institute reported of Romney's 2003 proposals as Massachusetts Governor:
He scared some conservatives when he said that he was opposed to tax increases but he couldn't rule them out. His first budget, presented under the cloud of a $2 billion deficit, balanced the budget with some spending cuts, but a $500 million increase in various fees was the largest component of the budget fix.
However, the "fees" were really taxes--i.e., they had nothing to do with actual costs incurred by government services they provided. Romney's claim of not raising taxes is based upon a simple deception: He called his tax increases "fees." During the 2008 presidential campaign, NBC's Meet the Press host, the late Tim Russert, exploded Romney's claim that he hadn't proposed tax increases as Governor:
Mr. Russert: The AP says it this way: "When Romney wanted to balance the Massachusetts budget, the blind, mentally retarded and gun owners were asked to help pay. In all, then-Gov. Romney proposed creating 33 new fees," [and] "increasing 57 others." The head of the Bay State Council of the Blind said that your name was "Fee-Fee"; that you just raised fee after fee after fee. That's a tax. ... A fee's not a tax? Gov. Romney: A fee--well, a fee--if it were a tax, it'd be called--it'd be called a tax. But ... Mr. Russert: Governor, that's, that's gimmick. Gov. Romney: No, it's, it's reality. It is. But--and I have no --I'm not trying to hide from the fact we raised fees. We raised fees $240 million.
Romney argued with Russert: "But a fee is different than a tax in that it's for a particular service." Of course, Romney increased fees upon gun owners (gun permits) and for people who needed duplicate licenses. Neither of these are "services" that the government provides; they are simply licenses needed to comply with government-established mandates. The independent FactCheck.org noted that "the Massachusetts Department of Administration and Finance says that fee increases during Romney's tenure added up to $260 million per year, with another $174 million raised from closing some corporate tax 'loopholes.' The independent Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation puts the revenue total of fee hikes and tax loophole-closings at between $740 and $750 million a year."
And Romney continues to defend his biggest tax increase, the Massachusetts' healthcare reform that has served as the model for the ObamaCare national legislation. The 2006 Massachusetts healthcare law required employers to offer employees health insurance (or face a withering fine) and also set a fine for individuals who did not purchase insurance.
At the June 13, 2011 debate in New Hampshire, Romney said that the problem with ObamaCare is that "it raises $500 billion in taxes. We didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts." Taxes on insurers and healthcare providers were raised with Romney's original healthcare reform proposal to create a $700 million fund to pay for heavily subsidized insurance plans for the poor. And FactCheck.org noted that Romneycare was funded in part by a $1 per pack tax hike on cigarettes (enacted by his successor, Democrat Deval Patrick) and heavy federal subsidies. In addition, Romneycare increased taxes on employers and workers who don't purchase insurance. In 2011, the fine for the individual mandate is as much as $1,212 per year, which is added directly onto the income taxes of non-compliant state residents. This fine will eventually rise to more than S3,500 per year as the law continues to be phased in. …