According to a recent report from national industry-backed conservative groups, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was named the nation’s best governor for “school property tax limitations and strong budgetary policies across the board, including in spending and reserves.”
The report, published by Laffer Associates and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), ranked all 50 governors in the U.S. based on “economic freedom,” coronavirus response and pro-corporation or conservative policies such as tax and education systems, union regulations, welfare spending and overall spending levels.
Laffer Associates is a Tennessee-based business consulting firm run by conservative economists and ALEC is a nonprofit group of conservatives that provides conservative, pro-business model legislation to state and federal lawmakers in the United States. ALEC has a large footprint at the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature, serving up fill-in-the-blank bills and campaign funds to Republican legislators.
The top-ranking governors in the report are all Republicans. Gov. Abbott was followed in the report by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and South Dakota Gov. Kriti Noem, who was in third. The only Democrat governor that made the top 10 in the report was Colorado Governor Jared Polls, who came in ninth.
Gov. Abbott primarily received his ranking “due to his commitment to fiscal conservatism and free-market policies,” according to the report.
“Keeping government trim also enabled Texas to be more prepared for the fiscal shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic than 40 other states,” the report noted.
Gov. Abbott, who is serving his second term as Texas governor, has received criticism on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic from both Republicans and Democrats in 2020.
Some Republicans have accused Abbott of limited personal freedom when he issued a mask mandate in public, indoor spaces in counties at with at least 20 positive cases. Democrats have accused the governor of reopening the state too soon and moving too slowly to take action to combat the spread of the virus statewide.
As of Friday, 8,500 Texans remained hospitalized with the virus.
In recent weeks, Abbott has said he will not impose a statewide lockdown, but called on local leaders to impose limits on reopenings regionally, based on hospital rates, resources and capacity.
The mask order is still in effect in the state; however, local officials are still wanting more authority to impose safety restrictions to curb the spread, according to a recent Texas Tribune report.
Texas isn’t the only state seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases and deaths and some states are imposing tighter restrictions.
To read the full findings of the report, click here.