By the end of January more than half of the states will have new governors. They come from various walks of life—a federal judge, a rancher, a former dry pasta manufacturer, a former gas station executive, an emergency room physician and a computer company president, as noted in brief profiles on stateline.org. Many of these new governors also have held public office as lieutenant governors, members of Congress and mayors. Three are making encore appearances –Terry Branstad of Iowa, Jerry Brown of California and John Kitzhaber of Oregon have previously served as governors of their states. Three states – New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Carolina – will have a female governor for the first time. And for the first time in Nevada’s history, the state has a Hispanic governor.
With rare exception, what they face in common are looming fiscal problems and budgets with astronomical deficits. Many take office having heard the voice of the voters: That people do not want additional taxes on common grocery items like beverages. And governments should trim their own budgets before they add another financial burden to hard-working families.
In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke of how working families cannot afford “never ending tax increases” and of how the state has no future if it’s going to be the tax capital of the nation. “The state government has grown too large, we can’t afford it….” he said in his inaugural address.
Voters in Wisconsin heard a similar commitment from their incoming governor, Scott Walker, who pledged not to raise taxes as he and the legislature work toward overcoming a substantial budget shortfall.
And as the Wall Street Journal quoted Gov. Susana Martinez, Republican of New Mexico, "We won't take more of your money from you or grow the deficit because we are not willing to make the same tough decisions you have had to make."