FACT CHECK: Portman Supported Billions In Cuts To Vital Services, Exploded The Deficit

COLUMBUS, OH -- Just like the ultimate Washington insider that he is, Senator Rob Portman isn’t telling the truth about Ted Strickland in his new web ad -- and he’s attacking Ted for cuts during a global recession after Portman himself cut billions from these same services and exploded the deficit in order to give more handouts to the wealthy and well-connected that he serves.

From Liz Margolis, Strickland Campaign Spokeswoman: “Just like the ultimate Washington insider that he is, Senator Rob Portman isn’t telling the truth about Ted’s proven record of fighting for Ohio’s working people -- Ted balanced the budget every year, protected vital services in the midst of a global recession, and oversaw a tax cut for every Ohioan. Portman slashed billions from vital programs like drug abuse prevention and voted for the largest cut to Pell Grants in the history of program in order to spend more of our tax dollars on handouts to his wealthy and well-connected friends -- and that kind of blatant hypocrisy from Portman is exactly what Ohioans hate about the dysfunctional politics of Washington and  D.C. insiders.”

See for yourself:

Portman false claim: Strickland’s budget shredded the safety net.
FACT: During the global recession Strickland protected vital services like education, Portman cut billions in order to give handouts to the wealthy and well-connected and proposed increasing the deficit by billions.  

  • Portman Proposed Eliminating The Perkins Loan Program, A $6.3 Billion Cut From 2008-2017. Portman proposed eliminating the Perkins Loan Revolving Fund, a cut that totaled $6.358 billion from FY 2008 to FY 2017. [Political Transcript Wire, 2/7/07; Office Of Management And Budget,February 2007]

  • As OMB Director, Portman Proposed A $4.5 Billion Cut To The Department Of Education In FY 08, With Cuts To K-12 Education And Post-Secondary Education. As President George W. Bush’s budget director, Portman proposed a $4.5 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Education, with a $600 million cut to K-12 education and a $4.8 billion cut to post-secondary education. [U.S. Department Of Education, Historic Budget Tables, Accessed5/2/16]

  • FY 2012 Portman-Ryan Budget Proposed “The Largest Cut In Student Aid Funding In The History Of The Pell Grant Program. “This proposal would cut $845 (15.2%) from the current maximum Pell Grant of $5,550.  While the goal is to roll back government spending to 2008 levels, the legislative proposal hurts Pell Grant funding more severely than other budget items. The recent increases in the maximum Pell Grant compensated for four years of no or negligible increases during the Bush administration. The maximum Pell Grant was essentially flat from 2002-03 to 2006-07. The proposed cut in the maximum Pell Grant will be the largest cut in student aid funding in the history of the Pell Grant program.” [Huffington Post, Mark Kantrowitz Op-Ed, 5/25/11]

  • Portman Proposed A $630 Million Cut To The Community Services Block Grant For FY 08. For FY 08, Portman proposed a $630 million cut to the Community Services Block Grant. [Department Of Health And Human Services, FY 08 Budget, Page 74, Accessed5/2/16]

  • Akron Beacon Journal: Portman’s FY 2008 Budget Proposed Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Cuts To Drug Treatment Programs. “As director of the Office of Management and the Budget working on President George Bush’s last federal budget, Portman outlined $248.8 billion in cuts, a 3.6 percent reduction, to drug treatment programs coordinated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institutes of Health. Ultimately the budget added to the deficit and Portman distanced himself from the Bush administration amid talk that he might be tapped to run as vice president in 2012.” [Akron Beacon Journal, 2/4/16]

  • DPCC Projected The FY 2014 Portman-Ryan Budget Cut Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services By $802 Million. The DPCC projected the FY 2014 Ryan Budget cut substance abuse and mental health services funding by $800 million. [DPCC,3/1/16]

  • FY 2014 Portman-Ryan Budget Proposed $135 Billion Cut To SNAP Funding Over Ten Years. “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan includes cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) of $135 billion — almost 18 percent — over the next ten years (2014-2023),[1] which would necessitate ending assistance for millions of low-income families, cutting benefits for millions of such households, or some combination of the two.  Chairman Ryan proposed similarly deep SNAP cuts in his last two budgets.” [Center On Budget And Policy Priorities,3/20/13]

  • Strickland Protected K-12 School Funding. Under Strickland, funding for the state department of Education rose over the beginning of his tenure. [Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 12-13 Budget,8/7/12; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 10-11 Budget,9/22/09; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, FY 08-09 Budget,12/12/07]

  • Strickland’s Last Budget Increased Funding For Higher Education Compared To His Predecessor’s. Strickland’s FY 10-11 budget increased funding for higher education compared to his predecessor’s final budget, the FY 06-07 budget. [Ohio Legislative Service Commission, H.B 119, FY 08-09 Budget,12/12/07; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, H.B.1, FY 10-11 Budget,9/22/09; Ohio Legislative Service Commission, H.B. 153, FY 12-13 Budget,8/7/12]

  • Portman’s Budget As OMB Director Had A $459 Billion Deficit. For FY 08, Portman’s budget had a deficit of $459 billion.[Government Publishing Office, FY 08 OMB Budget,2/5/07; Government Publishing Office, FY 07 OMB Budget,2/6/06; Office Of Management And Budget, Accessed5/25/15; U.S. Federal Reserve Bank Of St. Louis, FRED Data, Accessed7/6/15]

Portman false claim: Strickland’s administration was dysfunctional.
FACT: Newspapers said “Strickland has served the region and the state well.”

  • Akron Beacon Journal: “Strickland moved the state ahead as governor...He steered the state through the harsh recession, making hard choices yet protecting leading priorities.” [Akron Beacon Journal Editorial,1/9/13]

  • Dayton Daily News: Strickland “pulled the state through a certified crisis as well as anyone could.” [Dayton Daily News Editorial,10/13/10]

  • Youngstown Vindicator: “Strickland has served the region and the state well.” [Youngstown Vindicator Editorial,10/17/10]

Portman false claim: Strickland didn’t balance Ohio’s budget.
FACT CHECK: PolitiFact called this argument “false,” writing Strickland’s “budget wasn’t busted, it was balanced.” An $8 billion budget deficit never 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: $8 Billion 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 $8 Billion 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]

Portman false claim: Strickland raised taxes.
FACT: Strickland oversaw a tax cut for every Ohioan.

  • Under Strickland “Lawmakers Reduced Taxes,” Strickland “Slashed Spending.” “Lawmakers actually reduced taxes for individuals and businesses. Republicans rallied to the first Strickland budget because it held spending in check. Strickland then slashed spending during the final two years of his term. [Akron Beacon Journal, 7/8/13]

  • 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]

  • Under Strickland “Lawmakers Reduced Taxes,” Strickland “Slashed Spending.” “Lawmakers actually reduced taxes for individuals and businesses. Republicans rallied to the first Strickland budget because it held spending in check. Strickland then slashed spending during the final two years of his term. [Akron Beacon Journal, 7/8/13]

  • Strickland Oversaw A 13 Percent Tax Cut In Every Ohioan’s Individual Income Tax. [H.B. 66, Signed 6/30/05; Ohio Department Of Taxation, Accessed 1/29/16]

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

  • Dayton Daily News: Under Strickland, Ohio’s Tax Burden Was Ranked At A 16 Year Low. “Ohio’s national ranking for state and local tax burden on its residents has improved steadily in the past decade, reaching its best level in 16 years in fiscal year 2010. [Dayton Daily News, 10/24/12]

  • 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]

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