Mitt Romney was governor of a state so blue, it's North Korea with more Irish people, and he balanced the budget without raising taxes.
Even Ronald Reagan raised taxes as governor of California, imposing a $1 billion tax increase his first year in office. It was the largest tax hike by a governor in the nation's history, raising income, corporate, sales and inheritance taxes. Five years later, Reagan raised taxes again by another $1.5 billion.
To be fair, unlike liberals, he also provided tax rebates that, over his tenure in office, totaled $5.7 billion, including $4 billion in property tax rebates.
But even Reagan didn't stop the growth of state government: While he was governor of California, the budget increased from $4.6 billion to $10.2 billion.
Republicans are able to contextualize Reagan's record -– it was California! -- but seem unable to contextualize Mitt Romney's record, even though he had to govern a state far more liberal than California was half a century ago.
When Reagan was governor, the California Assembly was majority Democrat, but the Senate was evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
Gov. Romney had to contend with a 200-person state Legislature that included only 29 Republicans.
As Reagan tax guru Arthur Laffer has admitted, Reagan's specialty was cutting taxes, not spending. Reagan, he said, found "it hard to say no" and cutting spending is a "green-eyeshade budget thing," that requires poring over budgets, whereas cutting taxes can be done in the abstract.
Romney is a green-eyeshade guy.
Like Reagan, Romney inherited a huge, Democrat-created budget deficit. The existing Massachusetts deficit was already more than half a billion dollars when Romney took office halfway through a fiscal year, with a projected deficit of $3 billion for the following fiscal year.
And yet, Romney balanced Massachusetts' budget each year he was in office and left the state with a surplus, without raising taxes.
To the contrary, every single budget Romney submitted included income tax cuts -- all of which were rejected by the 85-percent Democratic Legislature. (The last time Massachusetts legislators approved an income tax cut was when it was attached to a bill raising their own salaries by 55 percent.)
Romney balanced the budget by slashing spending, eliminating ridiculous corporate tax loopholes and increasing user fees for government services consumed by only some citizens, such as court filings, taking the bar exam, boating, hunting and golf licenses.