The Cato Institute, one of the leading Libertarian think tanks in Washington, released a short comprehensive rating of both Governor Gary Johnson and Governor Bill Weld. These two gentlemen are vying for the Libertarian Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominations. Both served as Governor’s during the 1990’s into the 2000’s.
The following is a snapshot of Governor Johnson’s ratings from his time as Governor:
Here are Johnson’s grades, with a few notes from the reports:
- 1996, “B.” Johnson is “aggressively trying to make the state more taxpayer friendly. To control spending, Johnson has vetoed 200 bills passed by a liberal legislature.”
- 1998, “B.” Johnson is “a true citizen-lawmaker who calls himself a libertarian … In a big-government state like New Mexico … Johnson’s staunch fiscal conservatism has been much needed, but also much resisted.” Johnson “reduced the number of state employees by nearly 10 percent, and he has set a state record for legislative vetoes.”
- 2000, “B.” Johnson “has gained a well deserved reputation as a maverick governor. More so than just about any prominent politician in America today, Johnson has a libertarian attitude when it comes to government.” In “battling the legislators at every turn, Johnson has succeeded in cutting the state income tax, the gasoline tax, the state capital gains tax, and the unemployment tax. In 1999 he vetoed a 12-cent-a pack cigarette tax hike—not because he likes smoking, he says, but because he opposes all tax hikes.”
- 2002, “B.” Johnson “has done much to create private-sector jobs and to erode the culture of dependence on government in New Mexico.”
Why didn’t Johnson get some “A” grades from Cato? In most of the reports, he scored rather middling on spending. Also, the 2002 report suggests that the legislature blocked many of his reforms.
It is key to note the bottom portion. The biggest reason that Johnson didn’t receive A’s from the Cato Institute was centered the state legislature blocking many of his Libertarian reforms. He utilized the veto during his time as Governor to try and side step the legislature for blocking him like this.
Here are Governor Weld’s grades:
1992, “A.” Weld cut the budget and pushed to reduce income and capital gains taxes.
1994, “B.” Weld cut spending, balanced the budget, improved the state’s bond rating, and cut numerous taxes. Even with a Democratic legislature, “Weld has a stunningly successful fiscal record.”
1996, “B.” Weld “began to engage in a whirlwind of government downsizing. In his first two years in office, the state budget actually declined in nominal terms—an astonishing achievement given the pro-spending inclinations of the legislature. Weld privatized state services, slashed the public payroll, and cut general welfare assistance for employable adults. Weld has also been a supply-side tax cutter.”
What we have here are two of the most successful two term Governor’s running on the Libertarian ticket together. There has been consistent criticism in the Libertarian realm of both these men and their record. Cato has spelled it all out for everyone and shows that you have two very effective Governor’s that did a tremendous amount for their respective states.
These two men will pose a real challenge to both Trump and Clinton and their records will be able to back them up. The Libertarian Party is on the edge of history.