Mitt Romney on Budget & Economy

Former Republican Governor (MA)

No bailout for Italy; let Europe take care of Euro

Q: Should we allow Italy to fail? Should we have a stake in what's going on in the eurozone right now?

ROMNEY: Europe is able to take care of their own problems. We don't want to step in and try and bail out their banks and bail out their governments. They have the capacity to deal with that themselves. They're a very large economy. And there will be, I'm sure, cries if Italy does default, if Italy does get in trouble. And we don't know that'll happen, but if they get to a point where they're in crisis and banks throughout Europe that hold a lot of Italy debt will then face crisis and there will have to be some kind of effort to try and uphold their financial system. There will be some who say here that banks in the U.S. that have Italian debt, that we ought to help those, as well. My view is no, no, no. We do not need to step in to bail out banks either in Europe or banks here in the U.S. that may have Italian debt.

Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI , Nov 9, 2011

Let foreclosures happen; let the market reboot

Q: [to Gingrich]; Gov. Romney has said that the government should let the foreclosure process play out so that the housing market can recover and the free markets can work. Is he right?

GINGRICH: He's certainly right that you want to get to the real value of the houses as fast as you can. But in the long run, you want the housing market to come back? The economy has to come back.

: [to Romney]: Not one of your 59 points in your economic plan mentions or addresses housing. Can you tell us why?

ROMNEY: Yes, because it's not a housing plan. It's a jobs plan. The best thing you can do for housing is to get the economy going, get people working again, seeing incomes coming up so people can afford to buy homes. You have to let the market work and get people in the homes again, and the best way for that to happen is to allow this economy to reboot. What we know won't work is what this president has done, which is to try and hold off the foreclosure process, the normal market process.

Source: 2011 CNBC GOP Primary debate in Rochester MI , Nov 9, 2011

We need president who understands how economy works

Q: You originally called the "Occupy Wall Street" protests "dangerous." You said it was class warfare. You recently sounded more sympathetic. Where do you stand now?

ROMNEY: Look, we can spend our time talking about what happened three years ago and what the cause was of our collapse. But let's talk about what's happened over the last three years. We've had a president responsible for this economy for the last three years, and he's failed us. He's failed us in part because he has no idea how the private sector works or how to create jobs. On every single issue, he's made it harder for our economy to reboot. And as a result, we have 25 million Americans out of work. I can tell you that this is time to have someone who understands how the economy works, who can get America working again. Instead of dividing and blaming, as this president is, let's grow America again and have jobs that are the envy of the world. And I know how to do it.

Source: GOP 2011 primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 18, 2011

Cap how much government can spend as a percentage of GDP

If you go back a few years to JFK's time, the government at all levels--federal, state and local--was consuming about 27% of the US. economy. Today it consumes about 37% of the US economy. It's on track to get to 40%. We cease at some point to be a free economy. And the idea of saying, we just want a little more, just give us some more tax revenue, we need that, that is the answer for America. The answer is to cut federal spending. The answer is to cap how much the federal government can spend as a percentage of our economy and have a balanced budget amendment. And the second part of the answer is to get our economy to grow, because the idea of just cutting and cutting and taxing more--I understand mathematically those things work, but nothing works as well as getting the economy going. Get Americans back to work. Get them paying taxes. Get corporations growing in America. And I'll tell you, these kinds of problems will disappear.
Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Obama economy hurt middle class the most, so help them first

CAIN: [to Romney] : My 9-9-9 plan starts with throwing out the current tax code and pass 9% business flat tax, 9% personal income tax, and the 9% national sales tax. It eliminates or replaces the corporate income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax as well as the estate tax. And unlike Gov. Romney's plan my plan throws out the old one. He's still hooked to the current tax code. That dog won't hunt.

ROMNEY: My intent is to help the people who have been most hurt by President Obama's economy. And the people who have been most hurt are the middle income families of America. And that's why my plan says that if middle income families want to save their money, anybody earning under $200,000 and not pay any taxes on interest, dividends or capital gains, zero tax on their savings, that's the plan I'm for. And I will get that done in my first year.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Can't balance budget by cutting waste; must cut spending too

PERRY: [to Romney]: How do you find the savings and still deliver the services? For instance, in Texas, we put an Office of Inspector General into place, and we saved over $5.3 billion.

ROMNEY: The key to balancing the budget--having spent 25 years in business, I know something about taking waste out of enterprises--I'd love to do that to the federal government. And there is massive waste. But we're not going to balance the budget just by pretending that all we have to do is take out the We're going to have to cut spending. And I'm in favor of cutting spending, capping federal spending as a percentage of GDP, at 20 percent or less, and having a balanced budget amendment. That's essential to rein in the scale of the federal government. And there's a second part to balancing the budget, and that's growing the economy again. The right answer for America is to stop the growth of the federal government and to start the growth of the private sector.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

The country needs a turnaround, and that's what I do

Q: [to Romney] Does Gov. Perry deserve any credit for all those jobs created in Texas?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure. And I'll tell you, if you think that the country is, like Texas, going swimmingly well, then somebody who has done that is just terrific. But if you think the country needs a turnaround, that's what I do. If we're going to get this economy going, we've got to do seven things:

  1. Make our tax code competitive with the world
  2. Get regulations to work to encourage enterprise
  3. Have trade policies that work for us not just for the other guys
  4. Have energy security in this country by developing our energy resources
  5. Execute the rule of law to stop the Boeing decision that the NLRB put in place
  6. Make sure that we have institutions that create fantastic human capital
  7. Balance the budget. People won't invest here unless they have confidence here. And that's what I'll do.
Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Better that The Fed manages currency than Congress

BACHMANN: [to Romney] The Federal Reserve has a lot to answer for. That's why it's important that they're not only audited, but they have got be shrunk back down.

ROMNEY: The Federal Reserve has a responsibility to preserve the value of our currency, to have a strong American currency, such that investors and people who are thinking about bringing enterprises to this country have confidence in the future of America and in our currency. People will not invest in this country and create jobs in this country for the American people if they don't have belief in our currency. Of course we should see what the Fed is doing. There should be some oversight to make sure that it's acting properly. But at the same time, we recognize that we need to have a Fed Why do I say that? Because if we don't have a Fed, who's going to run the currency? Congress? I'm not in favor of that. I'd rather have an agency that is being overseen rather than have the United States Congress try and manage our currency.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

I understand how the economy works because I lived in it

Q: Despite your own private-sector experience, as you know, Massachusetts ranked only 47th in job creation during your tenure as governor.

A: I'm happy to take a look at the Massachusetts record, because when I came in as governor, we were in a real freefall. We were losing jobs every month. We had a budget that was way out of balance. We were able to turn around the job losses. At the end of four years, we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7%. The policies that will get us working again as a nation are policies I understand having worked in the private sector. Look, if I had spent my whole life in government, I wouldn't be running for president right now. My experience, having started enterprises, having helped other enterprises grow and thrive, is what gives me the experience to put together a plan to help restructure the basis of America's economic foundation so we can create jobs again. Our president doesn't understand how the economy works. I do, because I've lived in it.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Let middle-income Americans save money tax-free

I don't want to raise taxes on the American people, but I think everybody ought to feel that they're part of this effort and that they're providing for our military, providing for our roads, providing for our schools. That ought to be part of what every American experiences.

The question is not the people that are not paying taxes at the low end. The question is not the people who are very, very rich. The question is, how about middle-income Americans?

Who are the people most hurt by the Obama economy? And the answer is the middle class. The great majority of Americans are having a very, very difficult time. And our effort has to be to find ways to reduce to burden on those people.

And that's why I've proposed that anybody who's earnin $200,000 a year and less ought to be able to save their money tax-free, no tax on interest, dividends, or capital gains. Let people save their money, invest in America, and not have to give more money to the government. The middle class needs our help.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

QE2 didn't work; focus on jobs & higher growth

Q: Would Ben Bernanke have a job in your administration?

ROMNEY: No, I'd be looking for somebody new. I think Ben Bernanke has over-inflated the amount of currency that he's created. QE2 did not work. It did not get Americans back to work. It did not get the economy going again. We're still seeing declining numbers in prior quarter estimates as to what the growth would be. We're growing now at 1% to 1.5%. The plan I put forward will grow our economy at 4% per year for four years and add 11.5 million jobs. That's a very different approach than Ben Bernanke's taken, and it's a demonstrably different approach than Barack Obama has taken, and that's in part because we have very different life experiences.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

7 principles for leadership on the economy

Q: How long would it take you to turn around the economy?

A: I'm not going to give you an exact time-frame, but I can tell you this, that if you spend your life in the private sector, you understand that what Pres. Obama has done is the exact opposite of what the economy needed to be done. There are really seven things that need to be done:

  1. Make sure our corporate tax rates are competitive with other nations
  2. Make sure that our regulations and bureaucracy works not just for the bureaucrats in Washington, but for the businesses that are trying to grow
  3. Have trade policies that work for us, not just for our opponents
  4. Have an energy policy that gets us energy secure
  5. Have the rule of law
  6. Great institutions that build human capital, because capitalism is also about people, not just capital and physical goods
  7. Have a government that doesn't spend more money than it takes in. And I'll do it.
Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Bailout program wasted money; let companies go bankrupt

Q: GM and Chrysler have rebounded. Would you say the bailout program was a success?

A: The bailout program was not a success because it wasted $17 billion. When the auto company CEOs went to Washington asking for money, I said the right process is not big check from Washington, but instead letting these enterprises go through bankruptcy, getting rid of the unnecessary costs, and re-emerge on their feet again. Instead, the Bush administration and the Obama administration wrote checks to the auto industry.

Q: You wrote in Nov. 2008, "If GM, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye." Were you wrong?

A: No, I wasn't wrong, because if you read the rest of the op-ed piece, it says they need to shed unnecessary costs. If they just get federal checks, they're going to be locked in with high UAW legacy costs. They'll never be able to get on their feet. They have to go through bankruptcy. And it turned out that that's finally what they did.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Don't ask "what can we cut" but "what should we keep"

Q: You've been a chief executive of a state. I was just in communities dealing with tornadoes & flooding. FEMA is about to run out of money, and some people say, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role?

A: Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut--we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in.

Q: Including disaster relief?

ROMNEY: We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Our lack of vision led to financial collapse & loss of $12T

I'm reminded of the words from Proverbs, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." If a nation simply doesn't SEE a threat, it is unlikely to do something about it.

Our own lack of vision led to the collapse of our financial markets and our economy. It precipitated a global recession, triggered the loss of $12 trillion of our citizens' net worth, and dealt a sharp blow to world freedom. We simply did not see that so-called subprime home mortgages, liar loans, and nonqualified loans had the potential to cause such destruction.

There may be a dangerous strain of self-interest among the citizenry in democracies as well. If citizens in a democracy foster short-term self-interest rather than promoting the long-term interest of the nation--placing themselves above their descendants--there is little likelihood that they will vote for visionary transformative leaders who advocate difficult change and sacrifice.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p. 42-45 , Mar 2, 2010

Strong economy makes superior defense AND citizen prosperity

Americans can only be as secure over the long term as our economy is strong. An inferior economy cannot indefinitely support a superior defense. Mathematically, the scale of our military can be no longer larger than the product of our total economy--the GDP--and the percentage of that economy that is spent on defense. And the size of our economy is a function of the number of people in the workforce and the PRODUCTIVITY of that workforce.

As virtually every American discovered beginning in fall of 2008, a strong economy is also the foundation of our citizens' prosperity: Americans have experienced the impact of a weakened economy. But beyond the lows of recession and the highs of expansion, the sustained wealth of our families and communities is also driven by workforce productivity.

Whether you are interested in spending more on benefits or you want to add to defense, achieving your objectives depends on the nation's productivity.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.101 , Mar 2, 2010

US didn't bail out Wall St.; we prevented financial failure

I understand why so many people were and remain outraged at the emergency measures [in mid-2008]. They are offended by the idea of a bailout, and they don't much like Wall Street, either. The suspicion of bailouts is entirely sound. It doesn't make sense to bail out individual companies or banks or financial institutions that get in trouble. Creative destruction is part of a growing, productive economy. Subsidizing failure doesn't stop failure--it merely prolongs the final act.

But Secretary Paulson's proposal was not aimed at saving sick Wall Street banks or even at preserving jobs on Wall Street. It was intended to prevent a run on virtually every bank and financial institution in the country. It did in fact keep our economy from total meltdown.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.127-128 , Mar 2, 2010

This recession has cost $12 trillion in net worth

We're in the second year of a major recession, and if we don't make the right choices, things could get worse. Americans have already lost some $12 trillion in net worth. And the pool of our nation's investment capital has also shrunk by trillions of dollars.

The President has already moved to stop our economy's downward spiral. Parts of the stimulus will, in fact, do some good. But too much of the bill was short-sighted and wasteful. Every single Republican in Congress voted in favor of a better stimulus plan, one that focused on creating jobs immediately. But Congressional Democrats couldn't restrain themselves from larding up their bill with tens of billions of dollars for their political friends. Republicans wanted to stimulate the economy, Democrats wanted to stimulate the government. Conservatives in the House and Senate stood their ground and voted no--and they were absolutely right.

Source: Speech to 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 27, 2009

Apply Reaganomics to current recession: cut taxes & grow

Q: What is the biggest difference between you and John McCain when it comes to the economy? A lot of fear right now of recession. People are hurting. What’s the biggest difference between your strategy and his?

A: Well, the list is very long. The last time we had a recession, President Bush recognized the best thing you can do is lower taxes and put forward a tax bill. And John McCain was one of only two Republicans to vote against it. He does not understand the first lesson of Reaganomics, which is, you cut taxes to grow the economy.

Q: What would you do differently than the president would do?

A: There are two things that I’d add to the legislation that relate to long-term growth incentives. One is to say to people who are making under $200,000 a year, they ought to be able to save their money, tax-free, no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. And secondly, for people 65 years of age & older, my view is that they should not have to have payroll taxes taken out of their incomes.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 27, 2008

Make sure that we rein in spending

We’re going to have to make sure that we rein in spending. It’s not just we all agree on the earmarks & the pork barrel spending & the “Bridge to Nowhere.” But the big one is entitlements & reining in entitlement costs, and that’s where the big dollars are. What you’re seeing in a weakening dollar, in a declining stock market, in foreign countries coming here to buy into our banks, you’re seeing the foundation of our economy being shaken by that we haven’t been doing the job that needs to be done.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Support some kind of national catastrophic fund

I do support some kind of national catastrophic effort to make sure that people can get homeowner’s insurance that protects them against flood or hurricane or tornado or whatever natural disaster might occur, or man-made disaster in some cases. People wh live along the coastline across the Atlantic have the same problem. Getting homeowner’s insurance is oftentimes almost impossible. So what we’re going to have to do, as you just indicated, we’re going to have to work together to create a program that get people in high-risk areas insured. Now, I’m not in favor of saying that the people in Iowa should have to subsidize the people in Massachusetts or Florida--that doesn’t make a lot of sense--but to have those states that are in high-risk areas come together and say, “How do we organize an effort on a national basis that actuarially deals with the differences between different states and the different risks they face and make sure that we have a backstop behind the private insurance industry?”
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

Only someone who worked in private sector can fix economy

Q: Tell us why voters should support you over Rudy Giuliani.

A: Mayor Giuliani is a wonderful fellow. But he’s spent his life working in the governmental sector. I spent my life working in the private sector. And when it comes to trying to help see jobs come back, see our economy stronger, voters are going to want somebody who really understands how the economy works, and someone who has run something and someone who can, from the outside, finally get inside Washington and turn the place inside out

Q: Tell us why voters should support you over John McCain.

A: Sen. McCain is an honorable and courageous individual. But he has been in Washington all of his career. And I don’t think you’re going to see change in Washington by somebody who’s been such a part of it all of these years. I think people recognize that it’s essential to have somebody who’s had a job in the economy, who knows how the economy works and can fight to bring good jobs for middle-income Americans.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 20, 2008

Couple short-term stimulus with long-term growth boost

Q: You announced your economic stimulus package yesterday: a number of tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and the price tag for your plan would be $233 billion, which is much bigger than the plan that President Bush announced. So are you saying that his is too small to do the job?

A: Well, I like mine better. And there are two reasons. One is mine has a very large dose of long-term growth incentives. It’s not just designed to be a short-term stimulus, but rather a long-term growth boost. Not only by allowing capital expenditures to be expensed over these next two years, but also lowering the corporate tax rate so that we can get more businesses to stay here and grow here. So you really have to divide my incentive plan between those things that are long-term in nature and those things that are short- term and stimulative. And I think it probably divides about 50-50.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series , Jan 20, 2008

Avoid housing foreclosures to avoid recession

Q: What would be your immediate first step that you would take regarding fears of a recession?

A: I’d go aggressively after the housing market to make sure that servicing organizations combine in some cases, perhaps forming cooperatives to work together with homeowners to keep homes that are absolutely not necessary to going into foreclosure, to keep them with homeowners in them so that we don’t dump housing product in the housing market and cause a further reduction in housing prices.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 13, 2008

To avoid recession, deal with housing crisis & gas prices

What do we have to do at the federal level to keep a recession from occurring?
  1. We’re going to have to make sure that we stop the housing crisis.
  2. We’re going to have to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans immediately.
  3. We’re going to have to deal with gas prices. We’re going to have to finally become energy independent and make the investments in new technology that will allow us to get there.
  4. And, finally, R&D, investments in science and technology. That’s an area where America can continue to lead the world.
It’s time for us not just to talk about improving our economy; we’re going to have to do the hard work of rebuilding our economy, strengthening it. And I know that there are some people who think that some jobs have left that are never coming back. I disagree. I’m going to fight for every single job, in every state in this country. We’re going to fight for jobs & make sure that our future is bright. We’re going to protect the jobs of Americans and grow this economy again
Source: 2008 GOP debate in S.C. sponsored by Fox News , Jan 10, 2008

Economic strength comes from people, not from Washington

Q: Does our country’s financial situation creates a security risk?

A: This is, indeed, a time of extraordinary challenges in this country, and the overspending in Washington and the overpromises that we’ve made are certainly among those challenges. But this is not a time for us to wring our hands and think that the future is bleak. In fact, the future is bright. We need leadership to rein in excessive spending, and to help America grow. The best answer for our economic woes is to make sure we have good jobs for our citizens, good schools for our kids, good health care for everyone, and that we have policies that promote the growth of the nation. We can have a level playing field around the world, get ourselves off of foreign oil, reduce the excessive spending in Washington, and have a bright future for our kids. This is based upon the strength of the American people. If you want to see a strong America, you don’t look to Washington; you look to ways to strengthen the American people.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican debate , Dec 12, 2007

Cut deficit via waste, like 342 different economic programs

Q: Are there programs that are so important that you’d be willing to run a deficit to pay for them?

A: Well, we don’t have to run a deficit to pay for the things that are most important because we can eliminate the things that aren’t critical. We have, in the federal government, 342 different economic development programs, often administered by different departments. We don’t need 342. We probably need a lot fewer than 100 of those. We have 40 different programs for workforce training. There are probably 5 or 6 that are really working. We can get rid of some of those. And so what anyone in the private sector’s learned how to do is to focus their resources on those things that have the biggest impact, that are most important. Surely, protecting our country and our defense of our military is critical [as are healthcare and schools]. And the sacrifice we need from the American people, it’s this: it’s saying let the programs that don’t work go. Don’t lobby for them forever.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican debate , Dec 12, 2007

Fundamentally change how Washington works, to reduce pork

Q: What would you do to the pork spending?

A: Every bill that comes forward that’s got pork in it and earmarks that are unnecessary, we’ve got to veto them and send them back. But it’s got to be broader than that. We’re going to have to see fundamental changes in the way Washington works. We’re just not going to get out-of-the-box thinking with inside-the-Beltway politics.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida , Nov 28, 2007

Giuliani increased spending by 2.8%; I held increase to 2.2%

Q: Your difference with Mayor Giuliani on tax cutting?

ROMNEY: Well, we both agree with the need to cut taxes and have fought to do so. [But] Mayor Giuliani fought to keep the commuter tax, which was a very substantial tax, an almost $400 tax on commuters coming into New York.

GIULIANI: The difference is that under Governor Romney, spending went up in Massachusetts per capita by 8%; under me, spending went down by 7%. I brought taxes down by 17%. Under him, taxes went up 11% per capita. I led, he lagged.

ROMNEY: It’s a nice line, but it’s baloney. Mayor, you got to check your facts. #1, I did not increase taxes in Massachusetts; I lowered taxes. #2, the Club for Growth looked at our respective spending record. They said my spending grew 2.2% a year; yours grew 2.8% a year. But look, we’re both guys that are in favor of keeping spending down and keep taxes down. We’re not far apart on that.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

FactCheck: Closed MA budget gap of $1.2B, not $3B

Romney again claimed that he didn’t raise taxes when governor of Massachusetts and that he faced a $3 billion budget shortfall. We have twice pointed out that Romney in fact increased fees by around $500 million during his four years as governor. Romney’s cuts in local aid also led indirectly to local tax increases (mainly in the form of property tax increases). Similarly, Romney’s claim to have closed a $3 billion budget gap is exaggerated. In fact, the gap was closer to $1.2 billion.
Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP debate at UNH , Sep 5, 2007

Disagrees with reported negative study of MA economy

Q: You have said one of your top priorities is to strengthen the American economy. I want to take a look at your record of performance as governor of Massachusetts. Here it is. Your state ranked 3rd-lowest in creating new jobs during your term. Manufacturing employment dropped 14%. That was the 3rd-worst record in the country. And there was a net migration of 222,000 people from Massachusetts, a net migration. That was the 3rd-highest population loss in the country during those years. A Northeastern University study says the economic performance of Massachusetts during the Romney years was one of the worst in the country.

A: I’ve got very different statistics than you do. First of all, there were no censuses taken during that time period, and so any numbers on population are just estimates by various folks. Second, when I came in to Massachusetts, we were losing jobs every single month. Our budget was out of balance by some $3 billion. We turned that around.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Aug 12, 2007

AdWatch: Cap discretionary spending at inflation minus 1%

[Romney’s TV ad has run mostly in Iowa and New Hampshire, since April 4]:

ROMNEY: If I’m elected president, I’m going to cap non-defense discretionary spending at inflation minus 1%. That would save $300 billion in 10 years. And if Congress sends me a budget that exceeds that cap, I will veto that budget. And I know how to veto. I like vetoes. I’ve vetoed hundreds of spending appropriations as governor. And frankly, I can’t wait to get my hands on Washington!

Source: FactCheck.org: AdWatch of 2007 campaign ad, “I Like Vetoes” , Jun 28, 2007

Washington is broken; needs fundamental change

As you look at what’s happening in the federal government, [key is to consider] that Washington is broken. We need to have fundamental change in the way business in Washington is carried out. What that means is we’re going to have to have leadership that can reorganize the government. We’re going to have about 40% of the government employees turn over in the next couple of terms. Let’s go through all the agencies, all the departments, all the programs and cut out the unnecessary and the wasteful.
Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

First challenge as governor was $3B budget gap

The first challenge [of my governorship] was budgetary. I had not run for governor to manage numbers, but numbers were what stood out in our triage. During the campaign, the media reporters were unrelenting with questions about the budget: How would I fill a $1 billion budget gap in the next year’s budget?

[After the inauguration, we did a full] bottom-up analysis, resulting in some somber news. The budget gap for the next year was closer to $3 billion. Further, there was a shortfall in the current year of $600 million. Immediate cuts were necessary to prevent a possible cash crunch. The budget for the next year would test the entire administration team: finding $3 billion would be a real stretch.

The vision had already been set: it was the heart of last year’s campaign. I was determined not only to adhere to our themes, but also to fight for every single promise I had made.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p.382-383 , Aug 25, 2004

Remedies for budget imbalance: cut expenses or raise revenue

When a budget is out of balance, there are two remedies: cut expenses and raise revenues. I knew from experience that I would find ways to cut costs. But how much I could cut was unclear. I knew that every day, contracts and commitments were being made that locked in spending levels. I would need to take a quick swipe at staunching the spending immediately, then launch a detailed cost containment process that would probably take months. A preliminary review of the cost numbers, however, showed there would be no way to fill the budget hole solely through cost cutting: too much was already committed or spent.

So, the answer would have to be new revenues--marketing and sales. The good news was that companies had already signed on as sponsors, most of them at higher support levels than in prior Olympics. But that was also the bad news: the usual suspects had already been rounded up.

Source: Turnaround, by Mitt Romney, p. 48 , Aug 25, 2004

Balance state budget by removing waste and folderol

Romney vowed not to support a freeze or reversal of the plan to roll income taxes back to 5 percent by next year even in the face of a budget hole nearing $3 billion. “The easy way to fix any problem is to go to the people and say you have to pay more money, but that’s not what the job of management is,” Romney said. “The job of management is to find ways to permanently and structurally change the costs of our structure such that we can have a balanced budget without always raising taxes every time people think there’s a need.“

Romney, CEO of the Salt Lake Olympic games, said his experience in Utah taught him waste can be found & rooted out. ”We took things out that were waste, that were unnecessary, the folderol that wasn’t essential to carrying out the mission of a great Olympics,“ Romney said. ”The same thing, I believe, can happen in government.“

Democrats running for governor noted that Romney’s Olympics relied heavily on government subsidy, pulling as much as $1.5 billion from taxpayers.

Source: David Guarino, Boston Herald , Mar 22, 2002

Will cut deficit and help Americans save

The GOP candidate declares that he wants to become known as the “jobs senator” by persuading the government to cut the deficit and raise Americans’ savings rate to make more capital available for companies to invest and boost employment.
Source: Peter Gosselin in Boston Globe , Oct 20, 1994

Other governors on Budget & Economy: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Contact info:
Campaign website:
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55239, Boston, MA 02205
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011