Salt Lake City, UT (October 5, 2016) — A new report released this morning by the Cato Institute grades each state’s governor on fiscal policy and state budget actions since 2014. Governor Gary Herbert received a “D” grade, coming in at number 33 among the 50 states for best fiscal policy.
The report notes that Herbert’s low grade “stems mainly from his large spending increases”—a seven percent increase to the general fund budget in 2015 and more than a nine percent increase in 2016. State government employment has dramatically risen during Herbert’s time in office, growing 20 percent since he became governor in 2009.
The report comes on the heels of the Institute’s “50 Freest States” report, which ranked Utah the 20th best state for fiscal policy.
Libertas Institute president Connor Boyack provided the following commentary on the release of the latest report:
While Governor Herbert’s low score is clearly a cause for concern in conservative Utah, he does not bear all of the blame. The substantial tax increases he signed into law last year—though he certainly could and should have vetoed them—were supported by a majority of legislators who deserve much of the blame for Utah’s low ranking.
Rather than cutting spending on unnecessary programs and bloated bureaucracy, elected officials in Utah have proven themselves all too willing to take more money from hard-working families struggling to make ends meet.
Enough is enough. Utah should rank in the top 5 states on these reports; our low position should give public officials—and the voters who elect them—serious pause as to whether Utah is actually the conservative state we like to call it.
Cato Institute’s last report grading gubernatorial fiscal policy came out in 2014. Governor Herbert also received a “D” score in that report.