From The Washington Post:
In his speech accepting the Republican vice-presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Cleveland Wednesday night, Mike Pence talked in some detail about his record of fiscal responsibility as the governor of Indiana. In past elections, Pence’s focus on fiscal issues might not have been surprising. In Cleveland, though, the governor’s focus contrasted sharply with the tenor of the Republican primary campaign leading up to the convention as well as with the positions of his running mate, who has proposed a costly tax reduction and declared himself “the king of debt.”
“The nation suffers under the weight of $19 trillion in national debt,” Pence said. “We in Indiana have a $2 billion surplus, the highest credit rating in the nation, even though we’ve cut taxes every year since I became governor four years ago.”
As governor, Pence has limited taxes and spending while increasing the state’s reserves. He reduced the state income tax modestly from 3.4 percent to 3.3 percent. A further reduction to 3.23 percent is scheduled for next year. He has asked most state agencies to reduce their budgets by 4.5 percent.
This month, Pence announced a surplus of $210 million last year, which brought the state’s reserves to $2.1 billion. The state is one of a few with a perfect, triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.
Pence’s approach has been intensely controversial, illustrating the kinds of compromises involved in fiscal austerity. Some policymakers might feel that paying down outstanding debt or building up reserves are worthy goals, but the money to do so has to come from somewhere. These policies reduce the amount of funds available for other priorities. That has been the case in Indiana as well.
Pence has been criticized for failing to maintain the state’s highways, for example. Emergency repairs on Interstate …