Rudy Giuliani is the real fiscal conservative in the 2008 presidential race. That's why I'm endorsing him for president.
Most Americans know that Mr. Giuliani turned around America's largest city. They know he cut crime and welfare in half; they know that he improved the quality of life from Times Square to Coney Island and everywhere in between. And they witnessed his Churchillian leadership following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Less well known is the mayor's fiscal record. Nonetheless, conservatives will find it impressive. He built New York's resurgence not just on fundamental police work, but also on a foundation of fiscal discipline. He cut taxes and the size of government and turned an inherited deficit into a multibillion dollar surplus.
Mr. Giuliani entered office in 1994 with a $2.3 billion dollar budget deficit handed to him by his predecessor, Mayor David Dinkins. Liberal conventional wisdom held that the only way to close the gap was to raise taxes while cutting back on basic city services such as sanitation. The new mayor rejected this advice -- in fact, he famously threw the report recommending tax hikes in the trash!
Instead, he set out to restore fiscal discipline to the "ungovernable city" -- and achieved results that Reagan Republicans can applaud.
In his first budget address Mr. Giuliani explained that he would "cut taxes to attract jobs so our people can work." While lots of politicians make promises about cutting taxes Mr. Giuliani delivered, overcoming the initial resistance of the overwhelmingly Democratic City Council. He ultimately prevailed 23 times, including cuts in sales, personal income, commercial rent and hotel occupancy taxes. He understood that these taxes were not revenue producers, but counterproductive job killers.
When he left office after eight years, New Yorkers had saved over $9 billion, while enjoying their lowest tax burden in decades. The private sector, which had been hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs in the years before he took office, produced over 423,000 new jobs. Meanwhile the unemployment rate was cut in half. Businesses responded to Mr. Giuliani's reforms by returning to the center of city life.
So when he talks about his belief in supply-side economics, its not just theory, it's a plan he has already succeeded at putting into action. He's seen the results of supply-side economics first hand -- higher revenues from lower taxes.
Steve Forbes is President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, and is also a frequent business commentator for Fox News Channel's "Forbes on Fox." He is National Campaign Co-Chair and Senior Policy Advisor to the Rudy Giuliani campaign.
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