FACT CHECK: Claims In Freedom Partners Ad Already Ruled “False,” “Misleading.”

PolitiFact: Under Strickland, “The Budget Wasn’t Busted, It Was Balanced.”
FactCheck.org: Strickland Did Not Raise Taxes, “His Overall Record Shows Net Tax Cuts,”

COLUMBUS, OH -- Today Senator Portman’s shadowy Washington backers are out with another false ad attacking Ted Strickland -- but independent fact checkers have already ruled the claims in their ad “false” and “misleading.” 

From David Bergstein, Strickland campaign spokesman: “Senator Portman is the ultimate Washington insider – his rich and powerful friends are propping him up with false ads because they want Portman to continue pushing their agenda at the expense of Ohio’s working people. Multiple independent fact checkers have ruled the claims in this ad flagrantly ‘false’ and ‘misleading’ – while Senator Portman exploded our deficit as Bush’s Budget Director, tried to increase taxes on the middle class in order to give handouts to his wealthy friends, and backed unfair trade deals that outsourced hundreds of thousands of jobs to places like China, Ted put Ohio on the road to economic recovery: he balanced every budget, oversaw a tax cut for every Ohioan, and by the time he left office Ohio was the5th fastest growing economy in the country. In fact, even the individual in the last Freedom Partners ad was caughtadmitting that Ohio’s economy improved under Ted. No amount of money can change Portman’s record as an insider, an outsourcer, and everything Ohioans hate about Washington.”

The Koch-Brothers group Freedom Partners has been caught repeatedly airing misleading ads during the senate race: The Dayton Daily News revealed that an individual in one ad attacking Ted’s handling of the economy previously stated that Ohio’s economy improved under Ted (HEADLINE: “Local man in anti-Strickland ad had said company did better in 2010”), and the Akron Beacon Journal revealed that an individual featured in a different Freedom Partners spot did not know he was being used in an ad (HEADLINE: “Man surprised to be poster boy for mudslinging spot; Super PAC splices incomplete bits of story into powerful ad”).

See the facts for yourself:

False claim: Ted Strickland did not balance Ohio’s budget.
FACT: PolitiFact called this argument “false,” writing Strickland’s “budget wasn’t busted, it was balanced.” The Plain Dealerwrote that a budget deficit never actually happened.

  • PolitiFact: Under Strickland, “The Budget Wasn’t Busted, It Was Balanced.” [PolitiFact, 10/19/10]

  • Strickland Balanced The Budget Every Year. Ohio Is Required To Have A Balanced Budget.

  • Cleveland Plain Dealer: Budget Shortfall “Never Fully Materialized,” Democrats “Correct” That It Never Existed. “Let's go back to that $8 billion budget shortfall. Many Democrats argue there was no such thing. And, technically, they are correct. Initial estimates never fully materialized, as tax revenues grew more than expected in the early months of the Kasich administration. [...]  Borges blames Strickland for a shortfall that was not as large as expected because of increased revenues but gives Strickland no credit for those revenues.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8/3/14]

  • Cincinnati Enquirer: Kasich’s Budget Director Couldn’t Defend The Billion-Dollar Deficit Figure. “When asked whether he views $8 billion or $6 billion as the accurate deficit number, Keen responded in a way that goes a long way toward explaining the widespread confusion. ‘I don't know what the right number is.’” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/6/11]

  • Kasich’s First Budget Ultimately Spent $5 Billion More And Took In More General Fund Revenue Than Strickland’s Last Budget. [Ohio Legislative Service Commission, 8/15/11; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Accessed 5/23/15]

  • Cincinnati Enquirer: “How do you subtract nearly $8 billion but end up $5 billion higher...Legislators and other top officials remain befuddled by the basic budget math.”  [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/6/11] 

False claim: Strickland raised taxes.
FACT: FactCheck.org said this attack was false,writing that Strickland did not raise taxes, “his overall record shows net tax cuts,” and “no one paid higher income tax rates.”

  • FactCheck.org: Strickland Did Not Raise Taxes, “His Overall Record Shows Net Tax Cuts,” Taxes Were Reduced By 13 Percent. “The ad falsely claims that Strickland raised taxes by $800 million. Strickland delayed a scheduled tax cut for a year, but his overall record shows net tax cuts.”

    • “The ad misfires with its claim about ‘$800 million in tax increases’ under Strickland…No one paid higher income tax rates during that freeze year.”

    • “Ohioans didn’t pay more in 2009 than they did in 2008. In fact, the Toledo Blade noted in an editorial that some paid less.”

    • “In the years Strickland was governor, there was a roughly 13 percent reduction in income tax rates for taxpayers at every income level, according to data from the Ohio Department of Taxation. That resulted in a cumulative decrease of nearly $4 billion in individual income taxes paid during Strickland’s time in office.” [FactCheck.org,5/18/16]

  • Dayton Daily News Editorial: Strickland “Never Raised Taxes.” “He highlighted policies like the Third Frontier (inaugurated by a Republican predecessor), started with a tax cut for seniors, never raised taxes, cut the size of the state workforce, pushed the state in the direction of high technology.” [Dayton Daily News Editorial, 2/26/11]

  • Strickland Oversaw The Largest Income Tax Cut In Modern Ohio History. [Ohio Department Of Taxation, Accessed 4/7/16]

  • WCPN: Strickland Cut Taxes For Senior Citizen Homeowners, An Average Tax Savings of Over $400. [WCPN, 9/9/13]

  • Strickland Cut Taxes For Veterans. “Military pensions were declared tax exempt under a bill signed into law in December 2007 by then-Gov. Ted Strickland.” [Dayton Daily News, 8/18/15; H.B. 372, Signed 12/20/07; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, H.B. 372, Accessed 12/31/15]

  • Strickland Cut Taxes For Military Surviving Spouses. “The act exempts from the income tax retirement payments made to a surviving spouse or former spouse of a taxpayer who served in the United States armed forces, National Guard, or reserves, under the Survivor Benefit Plan.” [H.B. 562, Signed 6/24/08; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, H.B. 562, Accessed 12/31/15] 

False claim: Strickland shouldn’t have the used the rainy-day fund during the recession.
FACT: The rainy-day fund prevented cuts to services and tax increases and 70 percent of states used rainy-day fund during recession. 

  • CBPP: “States With Rainy Day Funds Were Able To Avert Over $20 Billion In Cuts To Services And/Or Tax Increases.” “Almost all U.S. states relied on their ‘rainy day funds’ when the economic recession began to ravage their budgets, showing that the reserves will be critical during the next downturn and states should consider putting even more money away, a think tank said on Thursday. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which closely tracks states' fiscal situations, found that over 70 percent have used their reserves to address budget gaps. ‘States with rainy day funds were able to avert over $20 billion in cuts to services and/or tax increases in the recession of the early 2000s and again in this most recent recession,’ CBPP said.” [Reuters, 2/3/11] 

  • Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy: A Rainy Day Fund Is Designed For Use In Economic Downturns. “Rainy day funds allow policymakers to avoid fiscal policy decisions that can worsen economic downturns. When budget shortfalls are caused by short-term economic declines, tax hikes or spending cuts can actually prolong the economic slump.” [Institute On Taxation And Economic Policy, 2005]

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