Tighten your belts

Tighten your belts

Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney came out swinging last night. Less than a month on the job and he’s already been more decisive and pro-active than any of his three Republican predecessors. He’s proposed to almost $500 million in state budget cuts to close what could be a $650 million deficit for the remainder of this fiscal year alone. And he did it without raising taxes, although some fees went up.

Part of the cuts are made through reductions in local aid to cities and towns. There’s been a lot of crying from mayors that they’ll have to cut some services. Did they not get the memo that’s there’s a recession? We all have to make do with less.

Some people want to raise taxes, but Mitt put the kibosh on that.

    ’‘So many families are so close to the edge that a tax increase could push them over,’’ Romney said. ‘‘And raising taxes would further slow down our state economy, which would cost people jobs and cause the state to lose even more tax revenue. That’s the last thing we need.’‘

Exactly right. If we learned anything from Ronald Reagan’s early years in office, it’s that when you cut taxes during a recession, it causes economic growth. More money stays in the economy and money creates money. The funniest thing in the news story was Mitt’s insistence that any attempt to raise taxes by cities and towns must go through voters.

    He has indicated that he would only allow municipalities to raise local taxes if the voters of those communities approve, a provision that some mayors and town managers consider a poison pill, since few tax hikes are supported at the ballot box.

God forbid the voters should get a say in how their government is run. The local pols want it easy. They want to do the politically unpopular thing, but they want someone else to blame. Too bad for them. They ran for office, now they get the mud as well as the glory. The other great news from Mitt is that there will be a major re-structuring of government (dependent, of course, on the Legislature). The best part?

    Citing one example of spending he called wasteful, he said he would vastly scale back the 800 lawyers scattered throughout government. ‘‘We’ll cut the number of lawyers and bring the remaining ones under a single umbrella,’’ Romney said. ‘‘It’s more efficient and it will save a lot of money.’‘

With all due respect to my lawyer friends, I had to grin when I saw this. The only thing worse than government lawyers is ex-pols with state hack jobs.