MY FONDEST MEMORY of my two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s was that we reversed the tax-and-spend policies of the Dukakis years, and put the Commonwealth on a new diet of "Live Free or Die" philosophy and "supply-side" economics. From 1991 to 1997, we had 19 tax cuts in Massachusetts, and not a single tax increase. The result, predictably, was an economic resurgence.
I was therefore thrilled when Mitt Romney was elected governor in 2002 and accelerated the Commonwealth's course of fiscal conservatism.
I believe that Romney was a very effective leader for our state. He came into office facing a nearly $3 billion budget gap. Even Democrats conceded that this was the worst fiscal crisis since the Depression. Instead of raising taxes or borrowing more money, Romney cut spending and closed the budget gap. As one commentator said, he "didn't just go after the sacred cows, he went after the whole herd." In his first year, government spending declined from $22.8 billion in Fiscal 2002 to $22.4 billion in Fiscal 2003. This was a tremendous success that Romney would continue to match throughout his four years as head of the Commonwealth. Seeing what he did in Massachusetts, I am proud to support Romney and believe he is the kind of leader we need in Washington.
Anyone who claims that Romney did not cut taxes in Massachusetts is simply mistaken. He cut capital gains taxes, benefiting well over 150,000 residents. Thousands more are currently benefiting from new jobs in the biotech field because of Romney's manufacturing tax relief and because he made the investment tax credit permanent. Thousands of Massachusetts families saved their hard-earned dollars when Romney enacted sales tax holidays. Seniors are benefiting from property tax relief proposed and signed into law by Romney. Our honorable veterans and National Guard members have several new tax breaks because of Romney's belief that they should be taxed less. Commuters can now deduct expenses for travel because Romney believes they shouldn't be penalized for helping increase commerce.
Romney's fiscal achievements were not his only accomplishments in Massachusetts.
Besides tackling government waste and inefficiency, he halted the state's economic tailspin and added tens of thousands of new jobs. He signed into law a health insurance reform modeled on a conservative market-oriented approach that emphasizes personal responsibility. He started the Adams Scholarship, a merit-based program that awards the top 25 percent of high school students in Massachusetts with four years of free tuition at a Massachusetts public college or university. He instituted English immersion in the public schools and abolished the old bilingual education system.
This is a real record of achievement that Romney is running on across the country. I am proud to endorse his candidacy for president of the United States.
William F. Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997.