With Rick Perry in Race, Which Governor Has the Best Record?

The 4 governors vying for nomination have mixed records on state taxes, spending

ByABC News
August 12, 2011, 1:51 PM

Aug. 12, 2011 -- Rick Perry's entrance to the presidential field means a fourth sitting or former governor has entered the field. The nine announced GOP presidential candidates run the gamut when it comes to their political backgrounds. Three served in the U.S. House, one served in the Senate, one has never held elected office.

Governors can tout their executive experience, which voters in recent years have responded well to. Recent presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton were governors before entering the White House.

The newest addition to the ever-expanding circle of presidential contenders is Texas Gov. Perry, the longest-serving governor in state history. For Perry, who will officially announce his presidential bid on Saturday, accomplishment No. 1 is job creation.

Over the past year, Texas' job growth was twice the national average. In fact, of all the jobs created since June 2009, 30 percent – about 295,000 jobs – were created in Texas, according to a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve which analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It's a pretty large number no matter which way you look at it," said Mine Yucel, vice president and senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve. "Texas has added a disproportionate share of jobs and it has grown faster than the rest of the U.S."

Yucel said much of this job growth can be attributed to Texas' low tax rate – the state has no income tax -- few regulations and a law limiting tort litigation. Texas, according to Perry, is the "epicenter of growth."

But Lis Smith, spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association, said Texas's lower unemployment rates have less to do with Perry's policies and more to do with Texas's natural resources.