Right-Leaning Think Tank Gives Gov. Beshear “D” Grade for Fiscal Policy

A conservative-leaning think-tank is giving Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, a barely passing grade when it comes to fiscal policy in Kentucky.

The Cato Institute released its fiscal ranking of governors across the nation on Wednesday, placing Beshear among the bottom quarter of governors for spending, and his opposition to major tax reform legislation.

“In 2022, Beshear proposed modest tax reductions, including freezing vehicle property tax rates and reducing the sales tax rate for a year. But he vetoed HB 8, which cut Kentucky’s income taxes, and the legislature overrode him to enact the reforms.107 The law cuts the income tax rate from 5 percent to 4.5 percent in 2023 and then trims it further in coming years if revenue targets are met. To partly offset the revenue loss from the cuts, the law expands sales taxes to additional services and industries and imposes fees on electric vehicle sales and ride-sharing services. Overall, the bill provides about $460 million in taxpayer savings the first year and rising amounts after that,” the think tank wrote.

The Republican Party of Kentucky rejoiced at the poor fiscal rating from the Cato Institute tying Beshear to President Joe Biden, who is seen by many as unfavorable in the largely “red” state.

“Despite Andy Beshear’s refrains about the economy being ‘on-fire,’ a national group just gave him a nearly failing grade for fiscal policy and his opposition to income tax cuts for Kentuckians,” Republican Party of Kentucky spokesman Sean Southard said. “Andy could attend one thousand ribbon cuttings, but it won’t change the fact that he is just like every other national Democrat: a tax and spend liberal who has stood by Joe Biden and his agenda every step of the way.”

Beshear is seeking re-election next year.