Fiscal Responsibility: Gov. Daniels v. Gov. Schwarzenegger

Via Joshua Marshall comes this article by Dan Balz:

Schwarzenegger says the proposals are needed to fix the structural deficit facing the state and the way politics are practiced in Sacramento. His critics say they will do nothing of the sort and accuse him of lacking the courage to do what two of his GOP predecessors, Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson, did when they were in Sacramento, which was to raise taxes to overcome deep deficits. Schwarzenegger disagrees. “No one has ever raised taxes and solved the problem, nor will we solve the problem,” he said. “We don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem.”

One might quip that President Reagan was less fiscally responsible than Governor Reagan. My problem with Gov. Schwarzenegger is that he reminds me too much of George W. Bush. As Balz points out – Schwarzenegger promised to be a uniter but is acting very partisan. Schwarzenegger also told us when he campaigned to replace Gray Davis that he would not cut education and would not raise taxes, which sounded to me like he was not serious about reducing deficits.

As noted by Jim VandeHei, other Republican governors are addressing budget shortfalls by tax increases:

Indiana Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. (R), Bush’s budget director in the first term, recently drew the wrath of conservatives by proposing a 29 percent increase in the state income tax rate on the richest residents. Republican governors in Colorado and Alabama have championed tax boosts as well.

Yes, Mitch “there’s plenty of money for a tax cut” Daniels is proposing tax increases in his state. While it is tempting to say that Bush and Schwarzenegger are out of step with these fiscally responsible governors, maybe this is all part of a grand plan. After all, it’s not clear that OMB Daniels was lying in 2001 when one sees the zeal to raid the Social Security lock box to subsidize the General Fund deficits caused by the tax cuts during Bush’s first term. And one of the main ways the national Republicans are proposing to curb Federal spending is simply shift responsibility to the states.