Northwest NEWS

September 23, 2002


Governor Locke graded 'B' on fiscal policy report card

Gov. Gary Locke receives a grade of "B" in the newest biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation's governors, the Cato Institute announced. His overall fiscal policy score in the Cato study is 6.0.
   Only two governors got an "A" this year: Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Ten governors rated a "B" this year.
   "Gary Locke says that his political philosophy is one of 'governing from the middle,' but he is a bigger spender than his rhetoric suggests," state Cato Senior Fellow Stephen Moore and Stephen Slivinski, co-authors of "A Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2002."
   The grading mechanism is based on purely objective measures of each governor's spending and taxing. Those include figures on actual yearly changes in spending and taxation levels as well as changes recommended by each governor. The governors are given separate grades for spending and for taxing, and their final grade is a composite of the two.
   The Cato Institute Study finds that nationwide spending has surged in nearly all states in the past decade. Other key findings include states with the highest deficits have had substantially higher spending and tax revenue growth since 1995, and while federal government spending rose 19 percent from 1996 to 2001, state general fund spending rose 39 percent.