In a white paper report which “grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited-government perspective,” the right leaning Cato Institute has named North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum the 3rd most fiscally conservative governor in America.
Burgum scored a 68 in their ranking, earning him an “A” grade. He comes in behind second place Henry McMaster, the Republican governor of South Carolina who scored a 69, and Republican Governor Susan Martinez of New Mexico who scored a 73.
You can read the full report from Cato below. Here’s their summary of Burgum’s performance during the first part of his first term in office:
I should point out – and to be clear, this is no knock on the Governor – that Burgum is getting a lot of benefit from circumstances on spending policy.
Thanks to falling crop and oil prices, the bottom fell out of North Dakota revenues. Not only that, but our state’s budgets were inflated to record highs under Burgum’s predecessors thanks in part to real spending needs during the oil boom, and perhaps even more to the availability of a lot of money to spend and the inability of many in the Legislature to say “no” to spending it.
Our state constitution requires a balanced budget. Even the most spend-happy of politicians was going to have to reduce budget when the boom-era revenues dried up.
Where Burgum deserves a lot of credit is in holding the line against trying to solve the problem with tax hikes.
I’ll be willing to give him more credit on the spending side of things when we see how he behaves when the state has revenue to spend again.
Here’s the full report: