Irresponsible Spending Record As Governor Completely Contradicts Recent Media Reports

WASHINGTON – Presidential candidate Howard Dean has recently been touted as a fiscal conservative as Vermont\’s governor. In fact, Dean claims, based on his record, he will be a better keeper of taxpayer\’s money than President Bush. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has conducted an analysis, based on Howard Dean\’s criteria, which demonstrates Dean as fiscally irresponsible. The analysis below examines Howard Dean and then Governor Bush\’s spending records from calendar year 1994 – 2000, years in which both men were governors of their respective states.

Howard Dean Says:

"[My fiscal policy as president] will be to limit the federal budget\’s rate of growth to the rate of growth in the economy… That\’s what we did in Vermont. You never let the budget grow faster than the economy."

But The Real Facts:

Total state spending increased faster than Vermont\’s economy by 24.5 percent during the years of the study. Spending increased at an annual rate of 9 percent, while the state\’s economy was growing at just 5.5 percent. As a result, the average Vermont resident needed to work an additional 14.3 days in 2000 to pay for state spending than in 1994. All told, State Spending Freedom Day (SSFD) did not reach the average Vermont resident until March 14th in 2000.

By contrast, the average Texas resident needed to work 2.4 less days in 2000 than in 1994 under Governor Bush, while the US average was a slight increase of 1.7 days for the same study period. As such, the true cost of state spending increased nearly 8 times faster than the national average under Governor Dean. The chart below demonstrates the magnitude of these spending increases.

State 1994 SFD 2000 SFD Days Change Percent Change
Vermont 58.3 Days 72.6 Days 14.3 Days 24.5% Increase
Texas 36.2 Days 33.8 Days -2.4 Days 6.6% Decrease
U.S. Average 47.6 Days 49.3 Days 1.7 Days 3.6 % Increase

Data Sources: Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Americans for Tax Reform