A new ad from the Obama campaign takes aim at Mitt Romney’s performance as governor of Massachusetts, claiming he had “one of the worst economic records in the country.” But the ad overreaches with several of its claims.
The ad states that job creation in Massachusetts “fell” to 47th under Romney. That’s a bit misleading. Massachusetts’ state ranking for job growth went from 50th the year before he took office, to 28th in his final year. It was 47th for the whole of his four-year tenure, but it was improving, not declining, when he left.
The ad’s claim that Romney “cut taxes for millionaires” isn’t as black-and-white as billed. Romney opposed a plan to impose a capital gains tax retroactively, insisting on delaying the hike eight months. That’s different than pushing for a tax cut.
The ad claims that Romney raised taxes on the middle class. It’s true that Romney imposed a number of fees, but none of them targeted middle-income persons. Also, Romney proposed cutting the state income tax three times — a measure that would have resulted in tax cuts for all taxpayers — but he was rebuffed every time by the state’s Democratic Legislature.
The ad claims Romney “left the state $2.6 billion deeper in debt.” It’s true that long-term bond debt — used for capital improvements — rose under Romney, as it had in the years before he took office. But Romney wasn’t piling up yearly deficits to support operating expenses the way the federal government is, because Massachusetts requires balanced budgets.
The ad claims that when Romney was governor, “Massachusetts lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs, a rate twice the national average.” That’s close to true, but the state lost a greater number of manufacturing jobs in the four years before Romney took office, and more in the four years after he left. In fact, the rate of job loss in manufacturing slowed during Romney’s time as governor.
The ad claims Romney “outsourced call center jobs to India.” Not exactly. What he did was veto a measure that would have prevented the state from doing business with a state contractor that was locating state customer-service calls in India. Democrats who controlled the Legislature could have overridden the veto, but didn’t. The veto was supported by leading newspapers as a savings to taxpayers.
Read the expanded version of this report with analysis, images and citations at the Factcheck.org Web site.