Governors Call for Tax Cuts, Education Reform
- January 23, 2014
- By Elaine S. Povich
Governors in Alaska, California, South Carolina and Wisconsin delivered their annual State of the State speeches Wednesday, calling for using revenue surpluses to cut taxes, beefing up education and refilling rainy day funds depleted during the recession.
• In Alaska, Republican Gov. Sean Parnell outlined an election-year agenda that called for advancing a gas pipeline project and new education reforms, including a constitutional amendment that would allow vouchers in place of more public-school funding. Citing the state's successful passage through the last recession, Parnell said, "with these polices in hand, the 'Great Alaska Comeback' is underway."
• In California, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, also positioning himself for a likely re-election bid this year, heralded a California “comeback” marked by budget surpluses. But he urged caution in the face of long-term financial challenges, urging lawmakers to “pay down our debts and remember the lessons of history.” He called for a “a solid rainy day fund, locked into the constitution.”
• South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, also highlighted education in her address, calling for lawmakers to focus on poorer areas of the state. Also seeking re-election this year, Haley touted a $177 million education plan, which includes more money for poorer districts, boosting technology spending and helping struggling readers. She said she would do that without raising revenue or taking money from other school districts, but provided no details.
• In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who’s also running for re-election, made the case that extra money coming in because of the improving national economy should be returned to residents as property and income tax cuts. Walker asked for $504 million in property and income tax cuts over the next 17 months. “What do you do with a surplus?” he said. “Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money."