Romney spent much of his first two years in office focusing on the state’s budget crisis. Romney succeeded in closing the budget shortfall without raising the state sales or income tax — a notable accomplishment. Yet his approach triggered criticism. Romney largely balanced the budget by cutting state aid to cities and towns, many of which responded by raising property taxes. In his first two years in office, Romney presided over a 15 percent cut in spending on unrestricted aid to cities and towns; he also cut more than 4 percent of funding for local schools. Pictured: Romney spoke with reporters in 2003 about budget-cutting proposals.