Today, as reported on The Maine Wire, the Cato Institute released the 13th biennial fiscal report card, rating governors based on their dedication to fiscal restraint. The report assigns governors grades of “A” to “F” based on their tax and spending policies. Based on the January 2014 – August 2016 period, Governor Paul LePage was the most fiscally responsible governor in the country and was one of only five governors to receive an “A” rating.
While state governments around the country have grown by 33 percent since 2010, LePage has fought hard to cut taxes, reduce the size and scope of government and get Maine’s fiscal house in order to better deal with the rising costs of federal programs that are expected to experience reduced federal aid in the coming years.
According to the report, “Paul LePage of Maine has been a staunch fiscal conservative. He has held down spending growth, and state government employment has fallen 9 percent since he took office. LePage has been a persistent tax cutter. In 2011 he approved large income tax cuts, which reduced the top individual rate and simplified tax brackets. In 2015 he vetoed a tax-cut plan passed by the legislature partly because the cut was not large enough. The legislature overrode him, and Maine enjoyed another income tax reduction. In 2016 LePage pushed for more reforms, including estate tax repeal and further income tax rate cuts.”
According to LePage, “Big, expensive welfare programs riddled with fraud and abuse threaten our future. Too many Mainers are dependent on government. Government dependency has not—and never will—create prosperity.”
While Maine came out on top in the report, not all New England states were as fortunate. Governors Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Dan Malloy of Connecticut were among the ten governors receiving an “f” grade.
To view the full report, click here.