SUNSHINE STATE SPENDING SOARED UNDER BUSH …
This website has taken a dim view of the 2016 presidential aspirations of Jeb Bush – who is gaining support among establishment “Republicans” concerned with the scandals dogging their former 2016 favorite, Chris Christie.
In that way we’re not unlike general election voters, who consider Bush among the least attractive GOP options … mostly due to disappointment and fatigue associated with the disastrous administrations of his brother (Bush 43) and father (Bush 41).
Don’t get us wrong: Jeb Bush did a lot of good during his eight years as governor of Florida (from 1999-2007). Most importantly, he championed parental choice reforms that have had a dramatic effect on improving academic outcomes in the Sunshine State.
If you don’t believe us, just take a look at this report showing how at-risk students in Florida now outperform the average student in our early-voting home state of South Carolina.
Bush has also continued to champion market-based academic reforms, echoing our (accurate) depiction of so-called public schools as nothing more than “government-run monopolies.”
Good for him.
Unfortunately, Bush’s fiscal record is not so hot … in fact it’s down right lousy.
According to data from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) – here and here – general fund spending in Florida soared from $18 billion to $28.2 billion during Bush’s tenure. That’s a 57 percent increase. Meanwhile total state spending in Florida climbed from $45.6 billion to $66.1 billion – a 45 percent spike.
Both of those figures are well about the state’s 16 percent population growth rate over the same period – as well as a 24 percent inflationary expansion. In fact both government growth figures eclipse population and inflation growth combined.
That’s disappointing …
Like his brother and father, Jeb Bush is a big government “Republican.” And while we’re tremendously grateful for his leadership on parental choice issues, we cannot look past his failure to tame unruly government growth in Florida.