Robert Bentley receives failing grade on fiscal conservatism

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Robert Bentley, Bill Haslam, Special session

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has had a rough year plagued with scandal and an ongoing impeachment probe, and now his lack of fiscal restraint is earning him poor marks on a nationwide report card of governors.

According to the right-leaning libertarian Cato Institute‘s 2016 “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors,” Bentley has become one of the least fiscally responsible governors in the country.

The biennial report assigns governors grades of A to F, based on their tax and spending policies. The 2016 report looked at data from January 2014 to August 2016. Bentley, who ran on fiscal conservatism in both his 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial campaigns, was one of only 10 governors to receive an F rating, most of whom (seven), are Democrats.

 According to the report, Bentley dropped from a B in the last report card to an F in this one due to his support of major tax increases.
“In his first few years in office, Bentley generally opposed tax increases, but in 2015 he made a U-turn,” the report said. “He proposed a tax increase of more than $500 million a year, including increases on businesses, cigarettes, automobile sales, automobile rentals, and other items.”
“The governor’s plan was opposed by the Legislature, but after months of wrangling, they reached a compromise on a $100 million tax package. Bentley signed into law a cigarette tax increase of 25 cents per pack, and higher taxes and fees on nursing facilities, prescriptions, and the insurance industry. In 2016 Bentley supported a gasoline tax increase, but that legislation did not pass.”

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