Romney did close the $3 billion budget gap he’d inherited (although he then left a projected shortfall of up to $1 billion). The methods he used are instructive. He slashed higher education, cut revenue to local governments, and raised fees on everything from college students to mortgages, from buying a boat to opening a bar.
Romney’s cuts to education and job training were especially severe. Fees for university students shot up 63 percent as Romney hammered college funding. Robert Karam, former chair of the UMass Board of Trustees, was a Romney backer. But no more. “I think higher education really stood still” under Romney, he has said. Romney even annoyed the business community—his core constituency—by cutting job training, workforce development, and trade assistance.
The Romney recipe of cutting education and job training, forcing higher fees on the middle class, and protecting the rich from tax hikes didn’t work in Massachusetts.
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