Governor’s Fiscal Report Card – Democrats Failing and Republicans Passing

Every other year, the Cato Institute examines the fiscal policies of the country’s 50 state governors and gives them grades from 0-100.  According to their Executive Summary of the Fiscal Policy Report Card On America’s Governors 2012:

“The recovery from the recent recession has been very sluggish, and the nation’s governors have struggled with the resulting budget deficits, unemployment, and other economic problems in their states. Many reform-minded governors elected in 2010 have championed tax reforms and spending restraint to get their states back on track. Other governors have expanded government with old-fashioned tax-and-spend policies.

That is the backdrop to this year’s 11th biennial fiscal report card on the governors, which examines state budget actions since 2010. It uses statistical data to grade the governors on their taxing and spending records—governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades.

Four governors were awarded an ‘A’ in this report card—Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Paul LePage of Maine, and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. Five governors were awarded an ‘F’—Pat Quinn of Illinois, Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and Chris Gregoire of Washington.

Many states are facing major fiscal problems in coming years. Rising debt and growing health and pension costs threaten tax increases down the road. At the same time, intense global economic competition makes it imperative that states improve their investment climates. To that end, some governors are pursuing broad-based tax reforms, such as cutting income tax rates and reducing property taxes on businesses. The bad news is that many governors are expanding narrow ‘tax incentives,’ which clutter the tax code in an attempt to micromanage the economy.”

Of the five governors (all Democrats) that received failing grades for their fiscal policies, they did so by raising taxes and/or increasing spending.

  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn raised taxes by $7 billion in 2010 and $1.1 billion in 2009.
  • Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy raised taxes on individuals and corporations by $1.8 billion.
  • Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton increased spending and tried to raise taxes but the tax increase was voted down by the state legislature.
  • Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie increased both spending and state income taxes.
  • Washington Governor Chris Gregoire increased business and sales taxes.

In the same report, a total of 17 governors received ‘B’ grades.  Of those 17, 15 were Republicans.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were 11 governors who received ‘D’ grades.  Of those 8 were Democrats and only 3 Republicans.

In all, 19 of the top 21 governors that received above average grades for their fiscal policies were Republicans.  On the other end of the grading scale, 13 of the sixteen governors that received failing or below average grades for their fiscal policies were Democrats.

When you take an overall look at the trend, you quickly realize that very few Democrats have a passing fiscal record.  The same holds true at the federal level as well, starting with the fiscal policies of the White House.  In the nearly four years that Obama has been President, the Democrats have never passed a federal budget, even when the House Republicans put one forth each year.  Under Obama, federal spending has climbed faster than Biden can say stupid things, and every time you hear him speak, he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy, or anyone he can.

It’s the Democratic fiscal policies that have gotten America into the situation we are now and much of it started with Bill Clinton.  But the general public seems incapable of comprehending this and continues to blame it on George Bush instead.  When will Americans wake up and smell the difference between sound Republican economics and the crappy Democratic economics that works as bad as it smells?