Governors Facing Re-Election Cut Taxes with Surpluses

Florida Governor Rick Scott shows how governors in at least nine states are approaching re-election campaigns next year by touting surpluses and pitching tax cuts, sometimes relying on one-time revenue to fund the breaks.
September 24, 2013
 

Florida Governor Rick Scott shows how governors in at least nine states are approaching re-election campaigns next year by touting surpluses and pitching tax cuts, sometimes relying on one-time revenue to fund the breaks.

The 60-year-old Republican toured the state this month to highlight a proposed $500 million decrease in taxes and a projected $845.7 million surplus. State economists attribute most of that to money carried over from last year’s budget.

Florida Governor Rick Scott toured the state this month to highlight his proposed $500 million tax cut and a projected $845.7 million budget surplus. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Revenue topped forecasts in 30 states, partly because wealthy taxpayers shifted income into 2012 to avoid higher federal rates, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. Some governors seized on the extra money as evidence of fiscal skill. The tax breaks give them material for the campaign trail, even as state-finance analysts warn they’re built on faulty budgeting and could force deep cuts after the elections.

In addition to Scott, Republicans Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Paul LePage of Maine, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Nikki Haley of South Carolina have all trumpeted proposed or already-accomplished tax cuts. Democratic governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Mark Dayton of Minnesota are also pushing to reduce taxes before facing voters next year.

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