Wonder what you would find if you frisked the CATO Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors in 2010?
Answer: The only A Students were South Carolina’s Mark Sanford (R), Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal (R), Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty (R), and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D).
This report was originally released back in September 2010 when I was interning at the National Republican Senatorial Republican Senatorial (NRSC) so I never had the time to blog about the report’s findings. Fortunately, I was just reminded of this detailed and fascinating report, because Nick Gillespie – from Reason Magazine – recently sat down with Chris Edwards, the CATO Institute’s director of tax policy studies, for an interview.
Here is the CATO Institute’s introduction to its recent Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors in 2010:
State governments have had to make tough budget choices in recent years. Tax revenues have stagnated as a result of the poor economy, and that has prompted governors to take a variety of fiscal actions to close large budget gaps. Some governors have cut spending to balance their budgets, while others have pursued large tax increases.
That is the backdrop to this 10th biennial fiscal report card of the governors, which examines state budget actions since 2008. 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.
Here are the only four governors to receive an A:
And here are the not-so-lucky seven governors to receive a F:
Quite frankly, I am not shocked to see a majority of the failed governors coming out of the Democratic Party. After all, tax and spend are their two favorite words when it comes to public policy (Joe Manchin being an exception).
Personally, I recommend that you read the entire report, but the three individuals I am most focused on are the top three Republicans who received an A: Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Why? It’s simple… They are (or were) potential candidates for the 2012 presidential election.
Mark Sanford, one of the biggest supporters of spending restraint and pro-growth tax reforms, used to be my top pick to go up against President Obama in the upcoming 2012 election. Unfortunately, my high-hopes were crushed when the governor decided to mysteriously disappear to go hookup with his Argentinean mistress. Either way, I think other Republican governors and potential candidates could learn a lot about spending restraints from Gov. Sanford’s record.
Bobby Jindal is another Republican governor who has been strong on tax and spending policies. Although his policies have remained consistently strong, I lost all interest in him as a presidential candidate after his boring and uninspiring response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech. That mindset, however, has slowly changed over the past two years. Jindal’s response to the Gulf oil disaster has shown that he can be a true leader. It will be interesting to see if he decides to run in 2012.
Lastly, there is Tim Pawlenty who is currently one of my top picks to run against President Obama in 2012. The man has done a remarkable job in Minnesota which is not known for its Republican-friendly political environment. Even with Minnesota’s left leaning legislature, Pawlenty has been able to cut spending during a recession and has refused to raise taxes on his constituents. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, Pawlenty is currently an underdog compared to other top Republican candidates, such as Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney. Personally, I remain optimistic and think he can compete with the other top Republican candidates… Only time will tell.
If you would like the check out the rest of the Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors in 2010, click here.