The conservative Club for Growth has released its presidential white paper on Republican candidate Mitt Romney — and the organization is "reasonably optimistic” that a President Romney would pursue a pro-growth agenda.
Club for Growth's philosophy is lower taxes and reduced government spending through legislative involvement.
The former Massachusetts governor’s economic record "contains a mixture of pro-growth accomplishments and some troublesome positions that beg to be explained,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey.
"While his record on taxes, spending, and entitlement reform is flawed, it is on balance, encouraging; especially given the liberal Massachusetts legislature.”
The Club for Growth release admonishes Romney: "Romney’s strident opposition to the flat tax; his refusal to endorse the Bush tax cuts in 2003; his support for minor tax hikes; and his once-radically bad views on campaign finance reform all cast some doubts on the extent and durability of his commitment to limited-government, pro-growth policies.”
Nevertheless, Toomey said, "given his overall record as governor and the strong pro-growth positions he has taken on the campaign trail, we are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda.”
The release from the Club for Growth praises Romney for passing a bill preventing his state’s capital gains tax from being applied retroactively, and for providing property tax relief to seniors.
But it chides him for opposing a ballot question to eliminate the state income tax.
On spending, the Club lauds his $343 million in cuts to cities, healthcare, and state agencies, and states: "While there is no question that Governor Romney’s initial fiscal discipline slacked off in the second half of his term, he imposed some much-needed fiscal discipline on a very liberal Massachusetts legislature.”
The white paper offers a generally positive view of Romney’s accomplishments and positions on free trade, entitlement reform, government regulation, school choice, and tort reform.
But it has a mixed view of the universal healthcare plan Gov. Romney helped craft in Massachusetts, saying he "deserves credit for proposing . . . a plan that encourages individually-owned health care insurance,” while cautioning that the Massachusetts plan "is not a model upon which a national plan should be built.”
The Club for Growth paper concludes: "As Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney’s record on economic issues was generally good.
"He demonstrated a willingness to take on his legislature and deserves credit for many pro-growth measures he advocated and the modest reforms he was able to achieve . . .
"His record on trade, school choice, regulations, and tort reform all indicate a strong respect for the power of market solutions.”