Budget Worries Push Governors to Same Mind-Set
Governors, even Democrats, are speaking a new language:
The dismal fiscal situation in many states is forcing governors, despite their party affiliation, toward a consensus on what medicine is needed going forward.
The prescription? Slash spending. Avoid tax increases. Tear up regulations that might drive away business and jobs. Shrink government, even if that means tackling the thorny issues of public employees and their pensions.
In years past, new governors have introduced themselves in inaugural remarks filled with cheery, soaring hopes; plans for expansions to education, health care and social services; and the outlines of new, ambitious local projects.
But an examination of more than two dozen opening addresses of incoming governors in recent days shows that such upbeat visions were often eclipsed by worries about jobs, money and budget gaps. Those speeches are the best indication thus far of the intentions of this class of 37 governors — 26 new and the others re-elected.
"The rhetoric has grown very similar," said Scott D. Pattison, executive director of the nonpartisan National Association of State Budget Officers. "A lot of times, you can't tell if it's a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal."
January 17, 2011