Gibbons earns a B

Patrick Gibbons

Governor Jim Gibbons may have lost a primary election to Brian Sandoval and he may be out of the office with a broken pelvis, but at least he will officially leave office having received some high marks for his actions as governor of Nevada.

The Cato Institute graded Governor Gibbons with a “B” (yes, it was on a curve) for his work on the state budget. Gibbons’ score of 61 was enough to rank him tied for eighth best among U.S. governors, according to the Cato Institute’s metric. Governor Gibbons tied with Rick Perry (R) of Texas, Bob Riley (R) of Alabama and Brian Schweitzer (D) of Montana.

The Cato Institute writes,

Nevada is enduring tough economic times, and government tax collections have fallen substantially. Governor Gibbons has generally refused to increase taxes to make up for the shortfall because that would make the economic situation even worse. In proposing spending cuts rather than tax increases to balance the budget, Gibbons noted, “It is not the role of the state government to put people out of work.” He said the government would be “piling on” the difficulty that citizens and businesses are already having if it raised taxes. Gibbons has proposed business tax cuts and opposed and vetoed numerous tax increases. In 2009, he vetoed a big increase in sales and payroll taxes, but the legislature overrode his veto. Gibbons has supported some modest tax increases, but he seems to understand that broad-based increases would damage the state’s pro-enterprise environment.

And in case you are wondering, yes, three Democrat governors scored higher than Governor Gibbons: Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Dave Freudenthal (Wyoming) and Brad Henry (Oklahoma).