Rick Perry, Fiscally Dreamy Endorsement

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 17, 2007 3:47 PM

Some are warning that Rudy shouldn't be touting his Perry endorsement too highly to socially conservative audiences, but maybe Perry's meant to woo someone else entirely. Perry announced his endorsement the morning of the Club for Growth conference-- fiscal cons-- not the Values Voter Summit-- social cons.

Why?

Check out Perry's grade on the challenging Cato 2006 report card for governors. Only Matt Blunt of Missouri beats him out, and famously fiscal Mark Sanford of South Carolina ranks just below him.

The details, below. There's a downside, but the generally unforgiving Cato folks give him very good marks:
Both Rick Perry of Texas and Mark Sanford of South Carolina have shown a solid commitment to keeping taxes and spending burdens low in their states over their entire terms...

Texas governor Rick Perry has kept spending under control better than most governors in this report card...

On fiscal issues, Rick Perry has been a better governor than George W. Bush. Having inherited the office when Bush became president in 2000, he was elected in his own right in a 2002 landslide on a pledge to oppose any new or increased taxes. He has been very disciplined on the spending side: The budget has stayed mainly flat in real per capita terms.

In 2004 Perry proposed a $6 billion property tax cut, with a large cigarette tax hike of $1 per pack to offset the revenue loss. Over the next two years, he also tacked on a brand-new gross receipts tax, which has the potential to discourage business growth in Texas—indeed, gross receipts taxes are widely reviled by economists as an economy-sapping levy.

It was an unnecessary move, too, since the state was rolling in a $4 billion budget surplus. The saving grace is that the tax plan that Perry finally signed into law will result in a net tax cut of nearly $1.5 billion in the first year alone—quite a substantial achievement. Still,  some Texans have rightly been questioning why Perry insisted on tainting his plan with an unneeded tax shift—especially onto the backs of businesses and smokers—when it could have instead been a much larger net tax cut.
Very solid, especially in a big state.