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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Comparing Governors: Democrat vs Republican

I've been reading about various states, many of which are running deficits. What's interesting is the contrast to what is being done about these deficits. Let's compare a few states:

FLORIDA: Florida is running a $3.5 billion deficit (5% of revenues). What does Republican Governor-elect, Rick Scott plan to do about it?: He will be reducing the state's workforce by 5%, he also plans to lower pension expenses by $1.4 billion and cut $1.8 Billion in medicaid spend. Tough measures yes, but these are tough times. And most likely, these decisions will not make Governor Scott very popular.

MASSACHUSETTS: MA is running a $1.5 billion deficit (5% of revenues). Governor Patrick has reduced lawmakers salaries by $300/year - yep - a whole $6/week! Not sure if a $6 haircut to weekly salaries is enough but that's the MA democratic approach.

***UPDATE*** Deval Patrick has also said people "should expect me to travel more" in 2011 both out of state and out of the country. He gave 4 reasons for more travel in 2011: 1. to promote the state, 2. to do research on how better-managed states are doing things, 3. to promote his book, and 4. to promote Obama's agenda. To me some or all of these reasons are suspicious, and while Patrick did decrease his salary by one half of one percent, it sounds like his travel expenses will trump his salary decline.

ILLINOIS: Projections are that the deficit will be $13 billion (about 50% of revenues). Yep this is the condition that past IL politicians have left the state to the new guard. Jeez, Obama left his successors with a stink bomb, didn't he? In fairness, he was a Senator, not the Governor, but that doesn't detract from the fact that his state is an embarrassment and he's pretty tight with most of them, including former Governor Blagojevich. His state is currently running dead last in Moody's ratings. I sympathize with new Democrat Gov Quinn, but must say that his solutions (more borrowing) and/or increasing the state sales tax from 3% to 4% are losing strategies.

Governors have to make some tough decisions this year. I don't envy them, but nonetheless, more of the same cannot be an option.