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Govs. Little, Gianforte rank high in fiscal report card on governors

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Governors are the chief executives of their states. Leadership, especially during troubled times, is sometimes difficult to find – but not in the Mountain States.

During the COVID pandemic, Governors across the nation seemed to take two different approaches – shut everything down and hope for the best or take necessary precautions but keep their economies open. Time will tell which strategy was best.

Governors are now facing a different type of challenge – how to handle an economy that is slowing but still producing major tax revenues. Some states spent the cash on new government programs and expanded budgets, while others decided to give the money back to citizens, or help small business still struggling.

The Cato Institute has released its 16th fiscal report card on the governors, and the showing of Idaho’s Brad Little, Montana’s Greg Gianforte and Wyoming’s Mark Gordon is impressive.

In fact, Governor Little ranked in the top 5. Meantime, Governor Jay Inslee in Washington ranked dead last.

Cato says it uses statistical data to rank the governors on their tax and spending records. If a governor held the line on taxes, they ranked higher. If a governor increased taxes and overspent, they ranked lower.

Another interesting part of the report is on interstate migration – the number of people moving from one state to another. Even though Washington is four times the size of Idaho in terms of population, more people moved to Idaho (15,120) in 2020 than Washington (13,822).

In terms of budget and taxation, Idaho is doing a lot of things right – and the nation is taking notice.

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