Richardson scores “B,” ranks 15th in Cato Fiscal Report on Governors

While it is easy to get caught up in the errors of our own politicians. For some perspective, it is useful to compare their foibles to those of other politicians in other states. The Rio Grande Foundation recently praised Richardson for his income tax cuts which have had a positive economic impact. The Cato Institute which has generally graded New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson highly in the organization’s report card on the nation’s governors, gave Richardson relatively high marks scoring him a “B” in their latest edition.

Here is what the folks at Cato had to say about the Guv:

Governor Richardson has carried through on phased-in income and capital gains tax cuts
he put in place seven years ago. The top income tax rate fell from 8.2 percent in 2003 to 4.9
percent in 2008. Richardson has supported other modest tax cuts, but they have not been progrowth
reforms like his income tax cuts. In 2009, for example, he signed into law energy tax
credits and one-time income tax rebates. The governor has supported some tax increases. In
2010, he signed into law an increase in the gross receipts tax rate, a broadening of income and
sales tax bases, and a cigarette tax increase. On spending, Richardson allowed the budget to
balloon during the middle of the decade, but he has cut back recently. Between FY03 and
FY09, the general fund budget increased 49 percent. However, Richardson’s proposed spending
for FY11 is down 11 percent from the peak in FY09.

Interestingly-enough, Richardson crushed right-wing darling Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, who scored a lousy “D” on the report which only examines fiscal issues. Richardson also scored better than likely presidential candidate Mitch Daniels who also received a “B,” but was not scored as highly as Richardson.

What do you think? Did Cato go overboard in praising Richardson?

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One Reply to “Richardson scores “B,” ranks 15th in Cato Fiscal Report on Governors”

  1. If Cato only looks at taxation issues, then I guess his high score is justified. However, to see the whole pictures, one needs to take into account the massive spending increases and damaging over-regulation that has occurred during the Richardson/Denish regime.

    Smaller government doesn’t mean merely letting the people keep more of their own money, it also means not spending the state into bankruptcy through big government projects that have no basis in economic reality.

    Add to that increased state regulation on the very industries that provide high paying jobs and massive amounts of revenue to the state, which has resulted in higher unemployment and a higher deficit than we might have had, and Richardson probably deserves something more like a C- to D+.

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