Cal Thomas: GOP governors leading American comeback

10/09/2013 12:00 AM

10/08/2013 5:18 PM

Though many Americans might wish they could abolish Congress, that’s not going to happen. But another approach by Republican governors to break the cycle of systemic ineffectiveness in Washington, D.C., might work.

The Republican Governors Association has produced a video (www.rga.org/americancomeback) in which five Republican governors highlight successes in their respective states. Given the dysfunction in Washington, the video provides some powerful reasons for people to turn their backs on the nation’s capital and begin to look to states that have succeeded in solving many problems Washington is unwilling to solve.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana wants you to know that his state’s gross domestic product has grown by $36 billion since 2008, nearly twice the national rate. That puts Louisiana eighth best in the country and third best in the South. According to Jindal, other categories in which Louisiana has succeeded while Washington piles up debt include: unemployment (below the national average with new jobs being added); per capita personal income (increased more than $3,600 since 2008); and charter schools – Jindal says his state has become a “national leader” in charter schools with 80 percent of New Orleans students enrolled in them.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio closed an $8 billion shortfall without raising taxes and cut taxes by $3 billion. He eliminated the “death tax,” modernized Medicaid, eliminated the bureaucratic Department of Development and created a private, nonprofit corporation – JobsOhio – to “respond to job creators’ needs at their pace instead of at ‘the speed of statute.’”

Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico boosted funding for education and Medicaid without raising taxes; cooperated with a Democratic legislature, passing the New Mexico Jobs Package, which reduced the tax rate on businesses from 7.6 to 5.9 percent; moved the state from 38th in the nation in export growth three years ago to first today; turned a structural deficit into a surplus; and enacted comprehensive tax reform.

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina pushed through tax reform on small businesses. She claims this has resulted in South Carolina having the fastest-growing manufacturing sector on the East Coast and creating 38,000 new jobs, which have contributed $9 billion in new investment.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin reversed a $3.6 billion deficit he inherited and turned it into a surplus. He provided nearly $1 billion in tax relief for families and businesses that sparked a two-year job growth, which he says is the best in the state under any governor in 10 years. Oh, and those “controversial” union reforms that caused demonstrations at the state Capitol two years ago? Walker says those reforms saved the state more than $2 billion.

More can be seen on the video.

The “American Comeback” campaign should resonate with those who long for an economically, politically and culturally sound America, something we do not have under the Obama administration. It isn’t that we don’t know how to solve problems; it is that too many Washington politicians refuse to solve them, preferring instead to lobby for positions of power and curry favor with special-interest groups that hand them cash, stroke their egos and promise them votes on Election Day.

Real problem-solving is taking place in states headed by Republicans. If you’re tired of the bickering, turn away from dysfunctional Washington, follow their lead, and emulate their successes.

Maybe then Washington will be forced to pay attention.

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