Last week, Cato Institute budget policy analyst Chris Edwards and his research associate Ilana Bloomsack issued a comprehensive report in which they graded the fiscal policy records of 64 of America’s fifty governors. Why only forty-six? The authors explain that the governors of New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia have not been in office long enough to set a record, and that the governor of Alaska was excluded because of “peculiarities of that state’s budget.” When I read an analysis of taxes and spending by the US government, I expect mainly bad news. To be sure, there’s a lot of that in their report, but there’s also plenty of good news.

We often hear that there is not much difference between the policies of Republicans and Democrats. But Edwards and Bloomsack show that, at the state level, there are huge differences between top Republicans and bottom Democrats. Specifically, five governors who earned A’s for their tax cuts and budget restraint are Republicans: Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Brad Little of Idaho, and Doug Ducey of Arizona. Eight governors who earned an F are Democrats: Minnesota’s Tim Walz, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, Illinois’ JB Pritzker, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, Oregon’s Kate Brown, California’s Gavin Newsom and Jay Inslee of Washington. These are not just opinions; The author goes into great detail about the achievements or lack thereof of the governors.

This is David R. From Henderson, “Good News on State Taxation,” Defined conceptsOctober 20, 2022.

Also note my discussion of the flypaper effect.

Read the whole thing.

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