Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Who is the worst governor in the United States? That’s a tough question. There are so many from which to choose. For example, college-dropout Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker is cutting $300 million from the state university system. This is popular with some conservatives because they think universities are full of liberal professors who do not prepare their students for the workplace. Such a severe cut is bound to do irreparable damage to Wisconsin universities. Evidently Walker is more concerned with appealing to Republican voters in the presidential election than in Wisconsin’s college students.

Is Scott Walker the worst governor? Don’t be too quick to judge. We have other nominees. For example, Florida Governor Rick Scott. The governor is feuding with the state legislature and the federal government. If the state does not sign up for expanded Medicaid, it will lose $50 billion from the federal government over the next decade. The legislature and the state’s hospitals want to get the money. Governor Scott’s response is to sue President Obama.

Maine Governor Paul LePage is a special case. He doesn’t just want to eliminate state income taxes in Maine; he wants to pass a constitutional amendment making state income taxes illegal. An amendment to the constitution requires approval of two thirds of the state legislature and a majority of the voters. Democratic legislators oppose the measure. If the legislature doesn’t approve it by the required two-thirds, LePage will veto any Democratic bill that passes the legislature. The merit of the bill makes no difference. If the legislature doesn’t go along with him, he will veto all Democratic bills. Something here is clearly out of proportion.

And finally, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas. When Brownback first became governor, he pushed through some major income tax cuts, so much so that now the state has trouble paying its bills. Without a tax increase, the state will be forced to lay off prison guards, cut aid to schools, and reduce payments to health care providers and nursing homes. Brownback doesn’t want to raise taxes. The state budget for the next fiscal year includes a $400 million dollar deficit. The Kansas constitution requires the budget to be balanced. Nevertheless, rather than raise taxes, Brownback went ahead and signed the bill. It is sure to be appealed to the state supreme court. If the court rules against him, Brownback has threatened to eliminate the court by defunding it.

To eliminate one of the three branches of a democratic government undermines the very idea of democracy. He was irresponsible in eliminating taxes needed to run the state of Kansas. To further the damage by trying to dismantle the democratic form of government is unthinkable.

Based on what we have seen so far, Sam Brownback seems the very worst of a bad lot. Maybe you can think of some other governors who deserve to be added to our Rogues Gallery.

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