Document:California Press Release 14 February 2001 Fiscal Report Card

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: February 14, 2001
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

Fiscal report card: Davis gets 'F,' Libertarians urge 'expulsion'

PANORAMA CITY -- Governor Gray Davis is one of only three governors to receive an "F" score in a newly released fiscal report card -- and state Libertarians are calling for his "expulsion" from office, the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

"Students are required to repeat if they fail in school. But this kind of report card merits the opposite punishment: expulsion," declared Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "Gray Davis is a spendaholic, contrary to his carefully polished image as a fiscal moderate. His policies are harmful to taxpayers and to the California economy, and he should be embarrassed to have such a poor fiscal record."

In a new study released Monday entitled "Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2000," authors Stephen Moore and Stephen Slivinski of the Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute compared the tax and spend policies of 47 governors, issuing grades from "A" to "F" based on 17 policy variables.

Only two governors, Paul Cellucci of Massachusetts and Kenny C. Guinn of Nevada, received an "A" rating. Davis, Tom Vilsack of Iowa, and John A. Kitzhaber of Oregon received an "F." Davis ranked 46th out of 47 overall, with only Kitzhaber receiving a lower fiscal score.

In the spending arena, Davis ranked dead last, presiding over a 7% average annual real per capita increase in the state budget.

"77% of his first budget surplus went to new spending," Hinkle noted. "His tax cut proposals have been laughable given the recent surpluses. Davis clearly believes that tax money is his to spend as he sees fit. Libertarians believe that taxes should be returned to the people wherever and whenever possible."

In the area of taxes, California has the dubious honor of the fourth-highest combined top income tax rates (personal plus corporate) in the country, at 18.14%. "Naturally," Hinkle pointed out. "If Davis is the worst spender in the country it stands to reason that California must have one of the highest tax rates in the nation."

Is there any part of Davis's fiscal policy that is positive? "He hasn't raised taxes -- yet," Hinkle said. "Under his watch, corporate, personal, sales, gas, and cigarette taxes remained stable. But this is far from praise, as these taxes haven't decreased either."

Concluded Hinkle, "Gray Davis has failed at being governor. It's time for voters to expel him from office."