Current Weather
The Spy FM

Gov. Romney’s Fee On Sightless: A Moment Of Political Blindness?

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
December 14, 2011

From the How-did-I-not-know-that? department came a fact I learned from listening to Chris Arnold’s report on NPR’s Morning Edition Wednesday.

When Mitt Romney was Massachusetts governor in 2003 and facing with a $3 billion state budget deficit, he didn’t want to raise taxes since that would prevent him in the future from claiming he hadn’t raised taxes.

So he proposed new or increased fees, including a $10 licensing fee on the blind so a sight-impaired person could receive a state certificate of blindness.

Really? A blind person had to get a license of blindness? There’s nothing in the story nor can I find anything by googling to indicate there were similar fees for the deaf, amputees or widows or orphans.

Actually, in 2007, the Boston Globe reported that it didn’t stop at the $10 licensing fee for the blind:

“Two proposed fees that drew some of the most criticism would have imposed a new $10 charge on those seeking a certification of blindness from the state and another $15 fee for photo identification cards for the blind. They were approved by lawmakers, but later repealed.

“Bob Hachey, president of Bay State Council of the Blind, said that while the fees were relatively modest, they could have made life harder on blind individuals on fixed incomes. He said Romney’s penchant for fees even earned him a nickname.

” ‘We renamed him ‘Fee-Fee.’ He was so unwilling to raise taxes that he was wanting to put all these fees in place instead,’ Hachey said.”

It seems remarkable that Romney and the legislature enacted the blindness fee in Massachusetts. Doesn’t it seem like someone would have said: “You know, on second thought, this blind fee thing doesn’t seem like such a good idea after all?”

Backing a fee for the blind seems like the kind of thing no ambitious politician would want to see coming back at him from a rival’s “oppo research” team.

That Massachusetts lawmakers eventually repealed the fee suggests that they recognized their initial action as a case of political blindness. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center