Bill Weld on Budget & Economy

Libertarian Party nominee for Vice President; former Republican Massachusetts Governor


Cut 20% waste in every federal agency

Q: Your plan is to reduce the federal budget 20% across all departments. Where will you cut?

WELD: I personally have never seen a layer of government that I didn't think had 10% or 20% waste in it, and the federal government is no exception to that. So our opening position will be to look for 20% that we could reduce the size of the federal government.

Source: CNN Libertarian Town Hall: joint interview of Johnson & Weld , Jun 22, 2016

I was one of the most fiscally conservative governors

Weld, for his part, took a somewhat more nuanced tone toward the Libertarians' rivals: "Someone doesn't have to be disaffected with Ms. Clinton to think that we have a good story," Weld said. "One doesn't have to be Never Trump to see that we were two of the most fiscally conservative governors in the United States."
Source: CNN 2016 interviews: Veepstakes/vice-presidential hopefuls , May 30, 2016

Abolish wasteful programs and support balanced budgets

Defining himself as a fiscal conservative, Weld castigated Kerry's entrenched liberal policies. "You've been there 12 years and you've voted three times to kill the balanced budget," the governor said to Kerry.

In contrast, Weld frequently cited his impressive record of fiscal management as Governor. "The truth is that we have abolished wasteful programs," Weld said.

Source: Harvard Crimson on Kerry/Weld debates , Jul 4, 1996

Balanced budget in downturn after boom decade of spending

During the economic boom of the mid-1980s, as the economy surged, so did tax revenues--and state spending. By the time the downturn came in 1987, deficit spending reached unprecedented levels.

The new governor's first priority was to stop the trauma, and he did so. He forced the 1991 budget he'd inherited from Dukakis into balance, in part by requiring state workers to take unpaid "furloughs," in part by cutting state aid to cities and towns--but mostly by landing an unexpected windfall: a $531 million federal reimbursement for Medicaid expenses. However it was done, it was done: the 1991 fiscal year ended in the black. For fiscal 1992, Weld actually budgeted less money than the year before.

In July 1992, Weld's first full budget cycle came to an end. Total spending had indeed decreased from 1991. Not by much--only 1.7% (about $200 million)--but it was the clearest sign imaginable that the budget meltdown had been confronted and reversed.

Source: Jeff Jacoby in City Journal , Jan 1, 1996

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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2019