As Mr. Perry walked along the midway at the Iowa State Fair, a reporter asked if he had any reaction to a Monday comment by Mr. Romney, who was in New Hampshire touring a small manufacturer: “I think understanding how the economy works by having worked in the real economy is finally essential for the White House, and I hope people recognize that,” Mr. Romney told reporters, according to the Boston Globe. Mr. Romney was an executive at Bain Capital before running Massachusetts.
Mr. Perry responded: “Texas is the real economy.”
Later in the day, the governor went a bit further, according to The New York Times: “Take a look at his record when he was governor. Take a look at my record,” Mr. Perry said, adding later, “Running a state is different than running a business.”
While Romney does have some experience in running a state, it was years ago (he left office in 2007), and some of his state’s economic turnaround was because of increased fees:
On the campaign trail, Romney says the higher fees were modest and long overdue.
“I raised fees $260 million. There were some fees that hadn’t been changed in 20 years. I didn’t raise taxes,” Romney told a forum crowd during a campaign stop in Merrimack in late September.
“These, by the way, were not fees like driver’s licenses and automobile licenses that everybody has to pay. If the services you are providing someone is costing more than you are getting from the fee, you raise the fee to cover the cost.”
In fact, the higher fees included the cost of a renewed driver’s license along with much higher charges to get married, go hunting, take the bar exam, go boating or play golf.
Romney’s figure does not include $71 million in higher fees approved before his election that he made no effort to stop from going into effect after he’d taken office.
And Romney even pushed through a gas tax hike:
One major fee hike was clearly excessive – a 2-cent-per-gallon increase in a special gasoline fee, implemented during the fiscal crisis without fanfare, even though it affects every motorist in the state.
The increase generates about $60 million per year for a program to clean up contamination around underground fuel storage tanks, but since its inception has produced surpluses of more than $40 million a year above the actual cost of the program, according to a report done by the Department of Revenue in response to a Globe request.
Raised from half a cent to 2.5 cents per gallon in April 2003, ostensibly to pay for a backlog of cleanup claims, the fee is on top of the 21-cent-per-gallon state tax on gasoline.
I think on this one, I prefer Perry’s approach to Romney’s. And of course, there’s always RomneyCare, hanging around his neck like an albatross.