Thursday, October 19, 2006
BY EMILY METZGAR
The Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank of libertarian orientation has just released its biennial Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2006.
As Cato notes,
The report card’s grading system is based on 23 objective measures of fiscal performance. Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.
Regrettably, Governor Blanco is one of nine governors nationwide to receive the grade of “F” for fiscal policy. It looks like approving a $26.7 billion budget didn’t earn the governor many points in this ranking — or in Louisiana, for that matter.
In its Louisiana-specific analysis, the Cato report notes that Governor Blanco “campaigned on a platform of change to the state’s convoluted tax system to encourage economic development. Since she became governor, however, that goal has taken a back seat to defending herself against criticism of her handling of the state’s response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. But Blanco hadn’t proposed any dramatic changes to the tax code at any point since being inaugurated… The tax changes she did ask the legislature to adopt in a special session… amounted to technical tinkering around the edges, and even the worthwhile changes…were to be phased in over a six- or seven-year period.”
The analysis of Louisiana concludes with the observation that the state budget has increased by nearly 10 percent — each year — in real per capita terms since 2005.
Closing thoughts: It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact these realities have on the state’s economic development efforts.
Full report in pdf here: Cato fiscal rankings.