This surprised us this morning… Ultra-libertarian DC think-tank the CATO Institute put out fiscal ratings on America’s governors this week and it appears that Gov. Gavin Newsom, who California right-wingers love to bash as super-lefty, scored pretty high.
(Photo via gov.ca.gov)
CATO gave Newsom a C grade and wrote this:
The pace of spending growth has fallen under Newsom, compared with the 13.7 percent increase in Brown’s final year. In Newsom’s first year as governor, general fund spending increased 5.6 percent.
Fortunately, California entered the current recession in a better position than the last one. In 2014, voters approved Proposition 2, which created a more robust funding structure for the state’s rainy day fund. The rainy day fund balance has grown from 4.6 percent of annual spending in 2014 to 13.7 percent by 2020.
Obviously, CATO being ultra-libertarians, they dinged Newsom for tax hikes that left-of-center Californians would argue were basically unavoidable and necessary.
Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see Newsom not get totally trashed by CATO and this may say something about his ability to appeal to more moderate Democrats in the state and nationally given that the default assumption in the original California gubernatorial primary was that he was the big liberal and former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the moderate Democrat.