A New Pragmatism

Many first-term Governors find they have no choice but to attack fiscal crises with bold -- and politically risky -- strokes

Every Governor in America last year could have recited the Jim Florio Rule of political survival: never mount an honest attack against a state deficit.

The New Jersey Governor, who combined service cuts with the highest tax hike in the state's history, was all but tarred and feathered for his efforts. But now, with at least 29 states facing potential deficits, Florio's approach is beginning to seem almost prescient. In the past six weeks, Governors from California to Connecticut have been doing the unthinkable: they are trying to turn their fiscal disasters into political opportunities. First-term Governors, with all the bravura...

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