Joe Lhota

In the words of Ronald Reagan: “There you go again.” It was just a month ago that Romney Campaign Advisor Cesar Conda provided a smoke-screen to cover-up the ineffective economic policies of former Governor Mitt Romney by attacking Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former Massachusetts Governor and true fiscal champion Paul Cellucci said it best responding to Romney’s attacks when he said that these are some “pretty weak arguments from a Governor [Romney] who in four years really had no tax cuts for the people of Massachusetts.” So let’s, once again, clear up Mr. Conda’s slew of misrepresentations regarding the fiscal record of Rudy Giuliani.

First and foremost, records speak far louder than election-year rhetoric. As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani did something almost unheard of in New York City: he cut taxes. He cut income taxes, property taxes, the sales tax and more. By cutting or eliminating taxes 23 times during his eight years as Mayor, he saved New York City taxpayers $9 billion. And he did it in the very heart of American liberalism. Governor Romney, Mr. Conda, and the rest of the folks in Boston can talk about pledges all they want—it doesn’t change, and won’t obscure, the fact that when it actually counted, Rudy cut taxes time and time again and Mitt Romney did not.

Likewise, all the discussion of campaign pledges doesn’t change who Mitt Romney was as Governor in Massachusetts. The reality is Mr. Romney has made campaign promises regarding taxes in the past, promises that certainly didn’t translate into tax relief for the citizens of Massachusetts. Mr. Romney, for example, ran for Governor claiming he would reduce the state income tax from 5.3 percent to 5 percent. Ask any Massachusetts resident how that’s working out for them—they’re all still paying that 5.3% rate.

As to the claim that “some might find [Mayor Giuliani’s] record troubling,” I’d be interested to know who, exactly, Mr. Conda is referring to. Certainly not the Club For Growth’s President Pat Toomey, who’s examination of the Mayor’s record led him to conclude that “In the face of such tremendous headwind, Giuliani’s economic accomplishments are remarkable.” Suffice it to say that Governor Romney would prefer that forceful commendation of his record to take the place of Mr. Toomey’s statement that “[Romney’s] record on taxes, spending, and entitlement reform is flawed …”

Mr. Conda then moves to Mayor Giuliani’s support of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, pointing out that all the major Republican candidates agree on this issue. Which may be true—today. But Mitt Romney refused to support the Bush tax cuts in 2003, when the President needed that help. When it counted the most, Mitt Romney stood with Ted Kennedy and not the President. Talk about someone’s actions casting “doubt on his commitment to the low-tax, economic conservatism that have been a basic pillar of the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan”--while that very Republican Party was whipping support for the most important conservative economic initiative since Reagan resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Romney chose to abandon pro-growth principles and the conservatives who have long fought for them. Clearly, Mr. Romney’s instincts lead him first to the position of political expediency, and not always the position of economic prosperity.

Rudy Giuliani is the proven fiscal conservative running for President. He doesn’t need to speak in abstracts and theoreticals, and he doesn’t need to obscure his record with attacks on his opponent. Why? Because he has actively and effectively governed as a conservative, and that’s exactly how he’ll govern as President. Rudy has seen what real pro-growth policies, and the determination to get them implemented, can do to benefit the people he serves. The same can’t be said for Mr. Romney—or, unfortunately for them, the people of Massachusetts.


Joe Lhota

Joe Lhota served as New York City’s deputy mayor for operations (1998 - 2001) and budget director (1995 – 1999) during the administration of Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Be the first to read Joe Lhota’s column.
Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.
Sign up today