Scoring the Romney running mate choices: Portman the moderate option, Rubio the most conservative

FreedomWorks

Ayotte 83 percent
Portman 66 percent
Rubio 94 percent
Ryan 85 percent
Thune 77 percent

FreedomWorks, a national tea party organizing group, key voted 40 measures in the House in 2011 and 18 bills in the Senate in 2011, including a budget plan proposed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and the "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill. The ranking below reflect the percentage of when members voted for bills FreedomWorks supported.

Rubio -- 94

Ayotte -- 83

Thune -- 77

Portman --66

Ryan -- 85

Cato Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2010

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal

Grade: A

Took Office: January 2008

Governor Jindal is a top-performing governor with regard to both his tax and his spending policies. In 2008, Jindal repealed income tax increases that were put in place in 2002, providing taxpayer savings of more than $350 million a year. Jindal has also provided modest busi- ness tax cuts and opposed efforts to reverse the income tax cuts. Like nearly all governors, however, Jindal has succumbed to the tax credit disease and supported special interest breaks for film production, music recording, and other activities. On spending, the governor has con- sistently proposed reductions to the state budget, with the result that proposed general fund spending is 17 percent lower in FY11 than it was his first year in office, FY08.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Grade: A

Took Office: January 2003

In his first few years in office, Governor Pawlenty backed tax increases on corporations and cigarette consumers. However, the governor has changed course in recent years, consistently supporting tax cuts and opposing tax increases. In 2008, he vetoed a large gasoline tax increase. In 2009, he twice vetoed giant tax packages passed by the legislature, which included increases in the top personal income tax rate and increased taxes on gaso- line, beer, wine, and liquor. In 2010, he again vetoed an income tax rate increase. Pawlenty has also proposed substantial business tax cuts to make the state more competitive, and he wants the corporate tax rate reduced from 9.9 percent to 4.8 percent. Under Pawlenty, state general fund spending rose 22 percent between FY03 and FY08, which was less than the average state increase. The governor's proposed spending for FY11 is down 10 percent from the FY08 peak. Pawlenty has proposed a constitutional amendment to limit annual growth in the state's general fund spending over the long term.

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