Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia, posted an article at the Wall Street Journal on Saturday detailing some of the progress some Republican state governors have made in dealing with their state budget deficits.
For example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a law this week that will reform the health-care and pension benefits paid to state employees. The law will bring the contributions of the state employees more into line with the contributions made by employees in the private sector.
Governor McDonnell relates what has happened in Virginia since he took office:
“When I became governor of Virginia in January 2010 we faced two historic budget shortfalls totaling $6 billion. The proposals to close these shortfalls spanned the philosophical spectrum. Shortly before leaving office, my predecessor, outgoing Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine, put forward a massive $1.8 billion income-tax hike as one of his solutions.
“I knew that in an economy struggling to recover, raising taxes was a nonstarter. So we set forth on a different path. We balanced Virginia’s books by reducing state spending to 2006 levels, putting in place a hiring freeze in state government, making conservative revenue estimates and incentivizing state employees to save taxpayer dollars. The result was a budget surplus just a few months later.”
The proof is in the pudding. The article goes on to list other Republican governors who have made changes in their states to improve the business climate, cut deficits, and create jobs. These governors include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and Florida Governor Rick Scott.
Governor McDonnell concludes:
“There’s a reason that no Republican governor seeking re-election has lost a general election since 2007, while three Democrat governors have fallen in that same period. Voters expect their state executives to make tough decisions with future generations, not weekly polls, in mind. That’s exactly what Republican governors have done and what President Obama has failed to do. And that contrast will make a difference at the ballot box in November 2012, to the advantage of the Republican presidential nominee.”
Because we have a President who does not seem to understand basic economics, the chances of our getting out of the current recession or debt problem without a change of direction from his administration are very slim. President Obama needs to follow the example of the Republican governors who have lowered spending, lowered taxes, and created an environment the grows jobs.