Cato grades the governors: Pawlenty, Jindal get As

posted at 10:55 am on September 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The fiscal conservative-libertarians at Cato Institute have issued a report card for current governors, and they aren’t exactly generous with the praise.  If a C is the minimum passing grade, then just 27 out of 50 states manage to keep from failing the test.  At the top of the list, the Wall Street Journal reports, are at least two presidential aspirants — Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal, and a third that gets a B, Mitch Daniels:

The Cato report card gives the lowest grades to Governors who proposed or enacted the biggest tax and spending increases, while Governors who cut or held the line on taxes and reduced spending go to the head of the class. Raising income and business taxes are the most harmful to a state economy—Exhibits A and B would be New York and California—so Governors who raised those taxes were heavily penalized. The nearby table shows the list of the Governors who earned grades of A and F. …

The Governors who received the highest grades in the Cato report proved that budgets can be balanced without raising tax rates even in severe downturns. Several Governors—Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Texas’s Rick Perry, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell have reset their 2011 spending to 2007 or 2008 levels. Many Governors also responded to lower revenue collections by selling state assets that are better managed in private hands: casinos, toll-roads, state-owned liquor stores, even buildings and land.

Cato gave four As, the other two going to beleaguered executives in the East, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.  Manchin has no problems with support as Governor, but he’s discovering that West Virginia voters would rather keep him in that position and send a Republican to the US Senate.  Sanford, of course, is running out the clock after a disastrous personal scandal resulted in divorce and embarrassment, but he’s still working hard and pushing fiscally conservative policy in his state.

Of those with presidential aspirations on the list, Pawlenty is probably the most open about those ambitions and the one working the hardest to build a network as a launch platform.  This report will certainly help, as it highlights the tough line Pawlenty has had to hold against a Democrat-dominated legislature and a financial crisis that would have overwhelmed others:

Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has proposed pro-growth tax reforms, opposed tax increases, and been a relatively frugal budgeter. He has proposed cutting the state’s high and uncompetitive corporate franchise tax, and he has repeatedly vetoed giant tax-hike packages passed by the legislature, including increases to gasoline taxes, beer taxes, wine taxes, and income taxes. Under Pawlenty, state general fund spending rose modestly between FY03 and FY08 and has decreased substantially since then. The governor has also proposed a state constitutional amendment to limit general fund spending growth.

Pawlenty hasn’t won every battle, but he’s won almost all of them, a remarkable achievement in a state that clings bitterly to its progressive roots.

Some of these governors on the list are currently running for another term or another office.  Pat Quinn, who took over for Rod Blagojevich when he got indicted for corruption, gets an F for his efforts to hike taxes and increase spending in Illinois.  Deval Patrick may be trailing in Massachusetts, no doubt for the same reason Cato gives him a D in this report.  Ohio’s Ted Strickland is definitely in the fight of his life for the same policies that got him a D from Cato, and Charlie Crist might have been better advised to run for a certain re-election rather than get into a dogfight for the US Senate, where Marco Rubio long ago exposed him as a D student as well.

We don’t have too many A students in this class, and we should be grooming them for advancement.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Someone could really get a food fight going with this thread..nevermind..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:02 AM

LOL, I sometime feel Ed is the sole supporter of Pawlenty in the conservative Blogosphere.

I am not that into Pawlenty, but I will admit he is eons better than Mitch Daniels.

Norwegian on September 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM

I’m sure Ahnold is a F student also.

sandee on September 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Jindal 2012! The only way I wouldn’t vote for Palin.

nazarioj001 on September 30, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Good job T-Paw & Bobby J.

The Model has been set. Make other governors use it to correct their States.

portlandon on September 30, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Ed,

You didn’t note that the recently popular (with conservatives) Jan Brewer earned a D by Cato standards. Hmmmmmm…

HDFOB on September 30, 2010 at 11:07 AM

LOL, I sometime feel Ed is the sole supporter of Pawlenty in the conservative Blogosphere.

I am not that into Pawlenty, but I will admit he is eons better than Mitch Daniels.

Norwegian on September 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Hey, someone’s gotta stick up for Steve Perry. It must get really lonely in his fan club.

Doughboy on September 30, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I see Arnold got a “D” in my state. Wonder if the SF Chron will send him a box of cigars when he exits. Or, if they put Pelosi’s gavel on display at her exit. Channeling Babs Boxer, (former Senator-maaaam)

Rovin on September 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I am glad to see Rendell near the bottom. He has been an embarrassment for the state of PA. Hes been so bad that his replacement – Dan Onorato – constantly runs ads like hes a Republican. In fact, i received a call from one of his supporters the other day and had to argue with her to get her to admit what party he was affiliated with. His own party wants to run from the damage he did

tflst5 on September 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I wish Cato had ranked Utah. It would be interesting to see their take on Herbert, who is running for election on his own after filling out Huntsman’s term.

Vanceone on September 30, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Well, I hope Pawlenty paid attention to how that cap-n-trade vote worked out for Mike Castle.

DaydreamBeliever on September 30, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I love how they keep Alaska off just because it’s weird.

theperfecteconomist on September 30, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Is Virginia no longer a state?

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Jindal has the government employees in Louisiana ready to riot.

So he must be doing something very, very right.

CDeb on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Nice work, Strickland. Your grade is the same as your designation (D). The voters of Ohio will be giving you the boot very soon.

ConDem on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I wish Cato had ranked Utah. It would be interesting to see their take on Herbert, who is running for election on his own after filling out Huntsman’s term.

We recently relocated from California to Utah. Based strictly on comparing the two economies, I’d say Herbert has to be at least a B or possibly an A. Utah is recruiting lots of high tech business from California, including major data centers from huge companies, and they are using the “stimulus” money to build up (expand, upgrade) roads and rail. My husband attended an economic development conference recently at which Herbert said Ahnold had called him asking for advice on CA’s economic woes. I gather Herbert basically said that it’s simple: enact Republican policies (and told him to get stuffed).

He’s got a mini-scandal brewing with Dept of Transportation contracts — allegations of cronyism in awarding them — and I’m not sure where he stands on immigration. The latter is curious because he’s running ads right now on immigration, but all it has are buzz words, you literally can’t tell based on those ads what “Utah’s solution” will be. (There is a fact-finding group in Arizona which I think is from the legislature. A legislator here is proposing an Arizona-style immigration bill.)

My hit off of him (and Utah politics in general) is that it’s a bit of machine politics environment — but the machine is running well.

Y-not on September 30, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Is Virginia no longer a state?

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

I think Virginia was left off because their Governor is less than one year in..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Oh, and I should add that Herbert received a very enthusiastic standing ovation at this economic development conference my hubby attended.

Y-not on September 30, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Is Virginia no longer a state?

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

5 states are missing (new governors):

Alaska (Palin resigned)
Kansas (Sebelius resigned)
New Jersey (Christie elected in 2009)
Utah (Huntsman resigned)
Virginia (McDonnell elected in 2009)

Abby Adams on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I wonder if the Cato Institute graded the other 7 states Obama visted during the 2008 campaign?..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I think Pawlenty is the guy who plays the class warfare card. Maybe he’s a more palatable Huck.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Abby Adams on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM

What happened to the other 7 states that Obie counts..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Doughboy, don’t knock on journey now :)

cmsinaz on September 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM

What happened to the other 7 states that Obie counts..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

They don’t have governors. Cuba has a dictator, Venezuela has a president (so called) and so forth.

Oldnuke on September 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Oldnuke on September 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM

LOL..Thanks for clearing that up..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Bobby Jindal — A
Mitch Daniels — B
This from a libertarian think tank.
I think so-cons would also grade Jindal as A & Daniels as B.
Let’s stop pushing Daniels in ’12 & get on Jindal’s bandwagon!

itsnotaboutme on September 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM

What happened to the other 7 states that Obie counts..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Hmmm…

Franklin has no sitting Governor.
Nor does Jefferson.
Superior has some disputes over the actual Governor.

Really it’s the same story for:
Kanawha
Lakotah
Deseret
Lincoln

See Wikipedia for more (I can’t link more without triggering the spam filter.)

Abby Adams on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Ed,

You didn’t note that the recently popular (with conservatives) Jan Brewer earned a D by Cato standards. Hmmmmmm…

HDFOB on September 30, 2010 at 11:07 AM

There were 37 other governors he didn’t mention. So?

shick on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Doughboy, don’t knock on journey now :)

cmsinaz on September 30, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Great band..:)

PS..They have an excellent guitarist and keyboard player!..Two of the best IMHO..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Abby Adams on September 30, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Thanks, that makes sense.

Cindy Munford on September 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Abby Adams on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

LOL..:)

PS..Looks like we are adding States all the time..:)

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I am not that into Pawlenty, but I will admit he is eons better than Mitch Daniels.

Norwegian on September 30, 2010 at 11:03 AM

What, exactly, makes him better than Mitch Daniels?

JohnGalt23 on September 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

They gave Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm a C?! Say what?

jwolf on September 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Chris Christy will get a 150% with all the extra credit assignments he keeps turning in.

esnap on September 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I am not surprised about Jindal. The Ronulans, have been firing potshots at him constantly, with a lot of leftist help. When in fact he has to deal with the legacy of leftist Huey P. Long and all the ne’er do wells still employed as civil servants and a Democrat legislature.

Kermit on September 30, 2010 at 11:50 AM

itsnotaboutme on September 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Mitch also turned a federal surplus to a deficit, and raised taxes to boot in IN. Jindal is interesting, but it’ll be hard to run for reelection while at the same time to put a presidential campaign together. There’s lots of leg work in 2011 for a 2012 campaign.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on September 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Dire Straits on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

agree :)

cmsinaz on September 30, 2010 at 11:57 AM

I’m delighted to see that Quinny-kins got an ‘F’.
Being that Quinn is trailing in the polls it’s obvious that many of my fellow ‘Madiganvill-ians’ agree with that assessment.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM

I’d take any of the A or B rankers over BarryO. At this point, being able to balance a budget should rank as the number one priority for job experience in 2012.

di butler on September 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Ed Rendell deserved his D-, that’s for sure.

rockmom on September 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

It’s great to see some Democrats scoring highly on this list. You would think they would be candidates for higher office, but the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to like people these days who can actually govern.

rockmom on September 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

They gave Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm a C?! Say what?

jwolf on September 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

They didn’t finish spelling the word.

Aviator on September 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

itsnotaboutme on September 30, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Mitch also turned a federal surplus to a deficit, and raised taxes to boot in IN. Jindal is interesting, but it’ll be hard to run for reelection while at the same time to put a presidential campaign together. There’s lots of leg work in 2011 for a 2012 campaign.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on September 30, 2010 at 11:51 AM

He already has been doing the legwork AND the governor’s race here is a full year before the presidential.

Kermit on September 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Please stop pushing the Boreapalenty line – he fell for and wasted tax money on Gorebull warming.

meh

Branch Rickey on September 30, 2010 at 12:26 PM

There were 37 other governors he didn’t mention. So?

shick on September 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

I wasn’t trying to point anything about Ed.

Jan Brewer’s ranking is worth noting because she has assumed such a high profile recently. Gov Brewer has become such a conservative fan favorite, that you hear many tout her as a 2012 Presidential of VP Candidate.

I 100% agree with SB 1070 and her defense of it.

However, it’s worth nothing, before the SB 1070 controversy broke, VERY FEW conservatives outside of Arizona knew her name and she was probably going to receive a serious primary challenge from her right.

Her Cato ranking is just something else to consider before VP candidate talk starts in Summer 2012

HDFOB on September 30, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Plus, Pawlenty’s pulling a Romney, e.g., announcing with 18 months left in his term that he wouldn’t be running for another term – and then running all over the country, with frequent stops in NH and Iowa to set up his presidential run.

I had no idea NH, IA, and SC were so inimical to running the states of MA and MN??

No thanks.

Maybe as VP. IF he drops the global climate change go-along-to-get-along act.

hrh40 on September 30, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Pawlenty also added RENEWABLE FUELS mandates. He not only signed them he supported the Green agenda. No way would I have given him an A.

Overall though considering our legislature here I would give him a B.

jpmn on September 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Ed,

You didn’t note that the recently popular (with conservatives) Jan Brewer earned a D by Cato standards. Hmmmmmm…

HDFOB on September 30, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I said it in every thread I saw about her when that was the big thing in the news. She’s a big government republican. She raised taxes on us and isn’t cutting spending. She’s a horrible governor, only put in position because obama took Mr. Napolitano off our hands. She would have been primaried if it weren’t for that immigration bill.

Kelligan on September 30, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Mark Sanford finished #1. What might have been had he not gone hiking the Appalachian Trail……

therightwinger on September 30, 2010 at 1:15 PM

50 comments or bust

james23 on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 PM

I cannot believe that Granholm merits as high as a C. I thought for sure she would flunk this course.

ZeeMI on September 30, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Strange to see Jodi Rell (R-CT) with an F and the worst rating for a Republican. She HAS vetoed lots of spending bills, and sent lots of bloated budgets back to the Legislature for downward renegotiation. Without her as a roadblock, and the big Democrat spenders in Hartford, this state would be bankrupt by now.

Then again, Rhode Island is full of big spenders, yet Dan Carcieri (R) ranks 6th on Cato’s list with a B.

Steve Z on September 30, 2010 at 2:02 PM

I cannot believe that Granholm merits as high as a C. I thought for sure she would flunk this course.

ZeeMI on September 30, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Only because, the Repub’s won’t send her increased spending/tax increase legislation. Besides, I hear the UAW likes her.

Jeff2161 on September 30, 2010 at 3:24 PM

50 comments or bust

james23 on September 30, 2010 at 1:19 PM

LOL, give it time, the thread has only been up for 5 long hours.

Sooner or later, Pawlenty-mania will kick in /sarc

Norwegian on September 30, 2010 at 5:27 PM