Kansas Governor Earns ‘A’ On Fiscal Report Card; Missouri Governor Gets ‘C’
On Tuesday, the Cato Institute published the latest edition of its Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, a biennial analysis of how America’s governors did in maintaining fiscal sanity at the state level. As the study’s author Chris Edwards explains, the report card “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.”
Not unexpectedly, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback received an “A” — in fact, the only “A” among the states that border Missouri. Edwards makes particular note of the massive tax cuts Brownback enacted this year, lowering personal income taxes and ending taxation on income derived from certain businesses. As Rex Sinquefield and I observed last Friday, that move was a big, big play for Missouri businesses that the state must address. Edwards also highlights the fact that Brownback “signed into law needed pension reforms for state workers, and he has abolished some state agencies.” The governors in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Iowa also earned good grades, each scoring a “B” on Cato’s report card. It is worth reiterating: This is all occurring on Missouri’s doorstep.
And Missouri’s governor? Citing in part “Tax Credits as a Tool of State Economic Development Policy” — a Show-Me Institute study — Edwards assigned Gov. Jay Nixon a grade of “C,” noting that while taxes have not really risen in the state, “tax incentive disease runs rampant in Missouri, as it does in many states.” (Indeed, Missouri’s love affair with tax incentives is unfortunately bipartisan.) Interestingly, the ratings of governors in our nine-state region, generally speaking, get worse the farther east you go.
You can find Cato’s full study here.