Monday, January 07, 2008

Another Question for Mitt

While trying to differentiate between tax hikes and fee increases during last night's Republican Presidential Forum on Fox News, Mitt Romney defended his implementation of the latter thusly:

...because we had a whole series of fees that hadn't been raised, in some cases, in decades, so we brought them up to the cost of providing services. These were not broad-based fees that were required for all people to pay, rather for specialized services.

From the Boston Globe - August 2007:

Romney oversaw millions in fee hikes as Massachusetts governor

Romney's fees could also grate on some of those he is courting as he seeking the GOP nomination, including gun owners.

Under Romney's plan for Massachusetts, the cost of registering firearms would have jumped from $25 to $75. He also called for increases in the cost of firearm identification cards, application fees for a license to carry firearms, and gun dealer fees.

Gun owners said they felt unfairly targeted by Romney's proposed increases. Democratic lawmakers applauded Romney's proposal -- ultimately raising the cost of gun licenses to $100.

Ignoring for a minute the gross injustice in charging citizens 100 bucks a head for exercising a Constitutionally-protected right, I would like to ask Mitt Romney to provide a detailed cost analysis of the firearms licensing process in Massachusetts.

If, as he stated directly last night, this 300% fee increase was in fact necessary to cover the "the cost of providing" a gun license, this should be a straight-forward exercise.

Why does it cost so much to issue a gun license in Massachusetts, when just over the state line in New Hampshire, a pistol license can be had for ten dollars and not take upwards of three months to issue.

You would think someone who portrays himself as such a shrewd businessman could find a more efficient and cost-effective way to deal with the issue of gun permitting.

If a restaurant was charging ten times as much for a cheeseburger as a competing restaurant down the street, and making you wait four hours 'til they brought it to your table, would you buy their explanation that the price difference was due to their increased cost of producing a cheeseburger identical (or, in most cases, inferior) to the competition's?

Of course, one only has to read the actual text of the current law to see what a disingenuous statement [read: lie] that was on Mitt's part.

The fee for an application for a license issued under this section shall be $100, which shall be payable to the licensing authority and shall not be prorated or refunded in case of revocation or denial. The licensing authority shall retain $25 of the fee; $50 of the fee shall be deposited into the general fund of the commonwealth; and $25 of the fee shall be deposited in the Firearms Fingerprint Identity Verification Trust Fund.

Two words: Money. Grab.

And, as to the $25 that goes to the "Firearms Fingerprint Identity Verification Trust Fund", whatever the hell that is, I'd ask, "How many crimes have been solved in Massachusetts by tracing fingerprints found at a crime scene back to the fingerprint card of a crime suspect, I mean, gun license applicant?".

Wow! That many, huh?

You would think that Mittt Romney, someone who portrays himself as such a fiscal conservative, would have expressed some interest in eliminating such wasteful state spending.

Well, you would, if you weren't a politician from Massachusetts more concerned with fleecing the law-abiding taxpayer than with treating people fairly and respecting their individual rights.