BOSTON - It's part of Mitt Romney's core narrative: Massachusetts, in the throes of a fiscal freefall, fell back on his CEO skills and turnaround wizardry to spark — in his words — "a dramatic reversal of state fortunes and a period of sustained economic expansion."
It's a rosy opinion of Massachusetts' economy that few in the state share. Instead, observers say, the state's recovery from a disastrous 2001 recession has been tepid at best, and Romney gives himself more credit than deserved on job creation and balancing the state budget.
Romney says that by the time he left office, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was lower and the state had recovered nearly 80,000 jobs from the low point of the recession.
A fuller look reveals a state still struggling to recoup the jobs washed away in the recession, while much of the rest of the country has already sailed past pre-recession highs. . .
. . . Massachusetts is one of just six states that hasn't added back all the jobs lost during the recession.
"Our losses were steeper, and our gains have been slower and as an end result we are still nearly 100,000 jobs down," said Dana Ansel, research director for the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a nonpartisan think tank.
The state's unemployment numbers also showed little movement during Romney's tenure.
Romney and the Republican's don't want this widely reported but Romney's predecessor was a Republican as was the governor before her. And even the governor before that one was a Republican. While it is easy to assume Romney inherited an office mismanaged under the Democrats to support his claims. especially since this is Massachusetts, and Romney doesn't want to correct that assumption, it is simply not the truth.
Observers say Romney can claim some legitimate fiscal successes — vetoing spending increases, fighting against tax increases, and helping lure some businesses to Massachusetts, including a new facility being built by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Yes he vetoed spending increases for one of the Commonwealth's most important industries, education. This veto meant that teachere in the states Universities and Colleges went without pay increases to keep up with the cost of living AND those institutions went without needed improvements. This caused Massachusetts to fail from 3rd in education to 5th and while that might not seem like a huge drop, where would you rather go to school?
The fact is the slow recovery can be partially laid at the cutting of the educational budget. When many businesses in towns/cities in MA rely on the "industry" of higher education, not funding it ripples through their economies and the state's as a whole.
Romney's economic claims challenged