Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CT Governor M. Jodi Rell Gets An "F" In Fiscal Policy

Sorry Governor Rell ... but the Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2008 from the CATO Institute has just come out, and it isn't looking good for CT.

This fiscal report card examines the tax and spending decisions made by governors since 2003. 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.
Three governors were awarded an "A" in this report card – Charlie Crist of Florida, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Eight governors were awarded an "F" – Martin O'Malley of Maryland, Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Chet Culver of Iowa, Jon Corzine of New Jersey, Bob Riley of Alabama, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, and C. L. "Butch" Otter of Idaho.
The report said this of CT's Governor:
Jodi Rell of Connecticut has pushed numerous large tax increases. Her first budget in 2005 proposed increases to cigarette taxes, gasoline taxes, and business taxes. In 2007 she proposed raising cigarette taxes and increasing the top individual income tax rate. Governor Rell’s performance on spending is also worse than average

Governor Rell’s fiscal record features numerous large tax increases. Rell’s first budget proposed increases in cigarette taxes, gasoline taxes, and various business taxes. In 2007 she proposed raising the cigarette tax from $1.51 to $2.00 per pack and increasing the top personal income tax rate from 5.0 percent to 5.5 percent. Luckily for taxpayers, the income tax part of her plan did not pass the legislature. On spending, Governor Rell has usually proposed substantial increases, and in 2007 she proposed skirting a state budget cap to spend more than was allowed under normal rules.
Unfortunately, they don't mention anything about the legislature she's had to deal with. But anyway, at least on the bright side it seems there is no where to go but up on this score. Closing the budget gap could be a start.

And here are two other interesting findings:
• Republican governors did slightly better in the report card than Democrats, with an average score of 55 compared to an average for the Democrats of 46.
• Republican governors scored better, on average, than Democratic governors on spending (54 to 48), revenue changes (58 to 44), and tax rates (51 to 48). But those
are just averages with many exceptions— Democrat Joe Manchin, for example, has
enacted probably the most pro-growth tax reforms of any governor.

Here is the full report