Rantz: Jay Inslee ranked as the absolute worst governor on taxing, spending

Oct 11, 2018, 6:06 AM | Updated: 6:33 am
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Washington State Governor Jay Inslee. (AP)

As Governor Jay Inslee embarks on his inevitable unsuccessful presidential campaign, seeming to spend more time out of Washington than in it, a new report rates him as the worst Governor in the country when it comes to fiscal policy. Literally the worst.

The Cato Institute, a well-regarded Libertarian think tank, released a report that grades the nation’s governors on their taxing and spending. It should come as no surprise that Republicans occupy all the top spots because, generally, they’re more likely to cut taxes instead of spending money on ballooning social programs. The grades are influenced, undoubtedly, by ideology.

Inslee, however, is literally dead last with an embarrassing score of 23, suggesting he’s not just about redistributing wealth; he’s insanely irresponsible with his fiscal policy.

And it’s made worse by the fact that as a candidate, he suggested he wouldn’t lean on tax increases to fund his ideas.

“Inslee has pushed relentlessly for tax increases,” the report states. “He originally campaigned on a promise not to raise taxes, but he proposed more than $1 billion in higher taxes in his first budget in 2013. In 2014, he proposed a new tax on capital gains and increases in cigarette taxes and other taxes. In 2015, he approved a gas tax increase as well as higher taxes on businesses. In 2016, he proposed broadening the bases of various taxes to raise funding for education.”

Indeed, in 2016, Inslee said “I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington.” That was a lie, as evidenced by his support for a carbon tax.

“Inslee has continued to advocate for a carbon tax even though the idea has been rejected by both the state legislature and Washington’s voters,” the Cato Institute report points out. “In November 2016, voters rejected a carbon tax (Initiative 732) by a solid 59–41 margin. But in the wake of that defeat, Inslee has continued to push for such a tax; his latest plan is designed to raise at least $750 million in its first year and growing amounts after that. So far, the plan has failed to pass the legislature.”

It’s not just his addiction to raising taxes that landed him dead last on the list. His addiction is fed by his insatiable appetite to spend your money on a growing state government.

“Inslee scores poorly on spending in this report,” Cato Institute concludes. “The current biennial general fund budget is up 17 percent over the prior budget. State government employment has risen more than 7 percent since Inslee took office.”

Other low scores on the list include Governors Kate Brown (D-OR), Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), David Ige (D-HI) and Jim Justice (R-WV).

Will this low grade negatively impact Inslee as he desperately tries to bring national attention to his campaign? Truthfully, no. His main focus is climate change, which doesn’t win presidential elections. And, he has zero shot at winning as it is, so this won’t make him any less likely to lose.

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Rantz: Jay Inslee ranked as the absolute worst governor on taxing, spending