Former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci is the headliner for the Rudy pre-debate email blast which quotes Cellucci as saying: “Not only was Mitt Romney unsuccessful in cutting taxes, he raised them. Fees went up, government spending went up, and we still don’t know just how much his universal health care plan will cost Massachusetts for generations to come. By any measure, Mitt Romney was unable to bring about the fiscal discipline in Massachusetts that Mayor Rudy Giuliani brought to New York City.” They then recite the litany of “fee increases” and “loophole closings” passed by Romney and focus on the rising costs associated with RomneyCare and the contention that his healthcare plan included a “tax.” They include for example: “”This is certainly a tax increase on business,’ declared Mike Tanner, health-care analyst at the free-market Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He called the requirement that everyone get health insurance ‘unprecedented in terms of government interference in people’s lives.'” (Brett Amends, “For Romney, Reforms May Be Just What Doctor Ordered,” Boston Herald, 4/6/06). And this: “The impact of this law on employers is substantial … [T]he reality is that the $295 penalty is small potatoes compared with the other obligations in the law. Say, for example, you open a restaurant and don’t provide health coverage. If the chef’s spouse or child is rushed to the hospital and can’t pay because they don’t have insurance, you — the employer — are responsible for up to 100% of the cost of that medical care. There is no cap on your obligation. Once the costs reach $50,000, the state will start billing you and fine you $5,000 a week for every week you are late in filling out the paperwork on your uncovered employees … These provisions are onerous enough to motivate the owners of small businesses to limit their full-time workforce to 10 people, or even to lay employees off.” (Betsy McCaughey, “Romneycare’s Fine Print,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/06)
They also make the argument that the state tax burden rose 10.75% from 2002-2006 under Romney and that “recommended budgets” grew by over 22% between 2003 and 2007. Team Romney has yet to respond but in the past they have insisted that fee increases and loophole closings are not “tax increases.” Romney has of course not proposed RomneyCare as a national plan but he and his spokesmen have vigorously defended it and the individual mandate.