Donatelli: Republican States Balancing Their Budgets

Their success should be a model for overspenders in Washington

At a time when Washington continues to struggle to trim deficits that approach $1.5 trillion annually, Republican-led states, along with a few Democratic officials, continue to take the tough steps necessary to balance their state

budgets without tax increases. Here are a few of those states and the policies they have put in place to achieve these impressive results:

In Virginia, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell stood firm against tax increases last year and balanced his state’s two-year budget. Virginia taxpayers were rewarded when Mr. McDonnell recently announced a surplus of $311 million for the fiscal year just completed because of higher-than-expected tax receipts. It’s questionable whether the surplus would have materialized had he raised taxes last year, as many were demanding.

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal and the first Republican legislative majority since Reconstruction passed a $25 billion budget that closed a $1.5 billion hole without tax increases. Mr. Jindal also realized his goal of not reducing funds for kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education, though those programs would absorb inflationary costs. The budget establishes Coordinated Care Networks, which outsource to the private sector the job of matching Medicaid beneficiaries with physicians and other providers. Most impressively, for the first time, the Louisiana budget contains no “member amendments” – otherwise known as earmarks – for projects in districts of powerful members.