Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Romney Loves Grover

No, not this Grover.

The folks over at The Fray note that Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Elimination Reform recenty crawled out of his cave to complain about Governor Romney's attempts to close corporate tax loopholes. It seems that Mitt has earned the ire of the anti-tax crusader by deigning to have the state enforce tax laws that are already on the books. He's quoted in a Globe Article as follows:

Norquist praised Romney for trying to cut personal income taxes, but he said the governor should concentrate on lowering the state's corporate income tax rate of 9.5 percent, not "trying to enforce unenforceable tax rates."
Never mind that Norquist considers any rate higher than 0 to be unenforceable, Romney has apparently taken his words to heart. In one of his now trademark turnarounds, Mitt backed away from his proposal to give the state's Revenue Commissioner the discretion to pursue corporations that transfer profits out of state for the purpose of lowering their tax bills.

Norquist isn't the only one criticizing Romney on tax policy. The libertarian Cato Institute gave Mitt a 'C' on their governor's fiscal policy report card. Showing that the Institute knows nothing about Bay State politics, they urge him to "take a page from the Paul Cellucci playbook." Though they weren't talking about ditching the state mid-term, leaving the state with a lieutenant governor with a thin resume. The Herald Editorial board notes that Weld recieved an 'A' despite contending with the same supermajority of Democrats in the legislature, so Romney should "look in the mirror" if he "want[s] to know who to blame."

Consider all this in light of what Romney had to say about his recent cross-country tour:
"I actually haven't seen any criticism of my travel out of state," he said. "I spent one day out of state last week. I don't know that that's terribly excessive. It happened to be a vacation day and I got a chance to speak to a wide number of people and went to my home in the West and did some skiing. Hopefully, I'm allowed to take vacations."
So, Romney hasn't heard any criticism of his out-of-state campaigning? Apparently he hasn't opened a newspaper since he got back in town. It makes me wonder, though. Romney is ignoring his critics in Massachusetts, but he's willing to change his stance on corporate taxation when barked at by troglodytes like Grover Norquist and the Rand worshipers at the Cato Institute. Not only that, but Mitt's pandering to religious conservatives last week did not cost the state anything; his current pandering to anti-government conservatives is actually going to affect the state's bottom line. This is just another sign that Romney is no longer interested in governing now that it conflicts with his presidential ambitions.