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Budget Cuts Were Least of Strickland’s Worries

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Exactly seven years ago today, a story ran in the Dayton Daily News highlighting former Governor Ted Strickland’s drastic budget cuts. Retread Ted stated in the article that the budget cuts he proposed were “the least of my worries.” Earlier this year the Portman for Senate Campaign released a web ad, “Shredded,” detailing some of the devastating budget cuts, which Ted said were the least of his worries. You may click HERE or below to watch “Shredded.”

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Despite his campaign rhetoric and never-ending attempts to hide from his record, as governor, Ted Strickland wrote, fought for, and signed a budget that forced devastating cuts and left no Ohioan untouched. The Columbus Dispatch said Ted’s budget shredded “the safety net for those most in need,” the Associated Press reported that “hordes of angry activists” protested the proposed cuts at the Statehouse, and – as you will see below – the Dayton Daily News said the cuts, “angered advocates for children, the mentally ill and others who depend on the state’s safety net.”

Budget cuts make job tough for Ohio governor
William Hershey
July 5, 2009
Dayton Daily News

Two years after Gov. Ted Strickland hugged Republican Jon Husted of Kettering in the governor’s office as they celebrated passage of a state budget with just one “no” vote, the bipartisan political symphony is off key.

As Ohio citizens continue to pound the Democratic governor over proposed cuts to libraries and other programs, Republicans seem to be polishing the shoes they hope to wear dancing on his grave.

Nobody is too ready to cast the 67-year-old Strickland into political purgatory. During 10 congressional campaigns in a district with more than its share of Republicans, he was never out even when he was down.

But this hasn’t been the best of times for Ohio’s first-term governor.

His budget cuts angered advocates for children, the mentally ill and others who depend on the state’s safety net — usually reliable Democratic supporters.

An ordained United Methodist minister, Strickland even got a scolding from the state’s two Methodist bishops for promoting expanded gambling. He asked them to pray for him.

Public opinion polls show voters have cooled, removing any lock from next year’s re-election.

But Strickland says he doesn’t worry about being tied to the drastic budget cuts he’s proposed.

“My brothers and sisters, you may not believe this, but that is the least of my worries,” he said last week. “There will be political campaigns in the future; charges and countercharges will be made. My responsibility is to get this state with a budget that will enable us to move forward.”

The state will move forward. But whether it does so with or without Strickland will likely depend on whether the economy hits a few high notes over the next 16 months.

“Yes, he can rebound from a tough year,” said Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University. “But his ability to rebound will be intimately connected to the state and national economies in 2010.”

Background on Strickland’s Budgeting:
Columbus Dispatch editors called the Strickland administration one of the most dysfunctional in Ohio history” (The Columbus Dispatch, Editorial, October 1, 2009)

“Advocates for the poor, who had urged Strickland and legislative leaders to increase the state sales tax to avoid such drastic cuts, say the budget compromise shreds the safety net for those most in need.” (The Columbus Dispatch, July 11, 2009)

The Associated Press reported that “hordes of angry activists protested the Strickland-proposed cuts at the Statehouse.  (The Associated Press, June 24, 2009)

The Strickland-backed budget deal included most of the $2.4 billion in cuts he had proposed “that will hit food pantries, early learning programs for low-income youngsters, community health centers, libraries and eligibility for state-funded child care.” (The Columbus Dispatch, July 11, 2009)

“The budget agreement also cuts by $170 million over two years the primary source of state funding to higher education. So instead of the tuition freeze in 2010 as Strickland proposed, state universities and colleges will be able to raise tuition by 3.5% over each of the next two years.” (The Columbus Dispatch, July 11, 2009)

“Operating funds for K-12 education will be cut by 0.24% each year.” (The Columbus Dispatch, July 11, 2009)

“In a midday rally on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse, behavioral health advocates sizzled with disbelief that cuts of 28% for drug and alcohol addiction services… had been proposed.” (The Associated Press, June 24, 2009)

The Strickland-backed budget deal included most of the $2.4 billion in cuts he had proposed “that will hit food pantries, early learning programs for low-income youngsters, community health centers, libraries and eligibility for state-funded child care.” (The Columbus Dispatch, July 11, 2009)

“Forces in the legislature are pushing to revert to the same careless attitude of a few years ago, when Gov. Ted Strickland and the Democrat-controlled House spent the state into a disastrous $8 billion shortfall. (The Columbus Dispatch, Editorial, August 15, 2012)

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