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Rewind: “Gov. Strickland is doing an appalling job for Ohio”

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today, the Portman for Senate Campaign is reminding Ohioans about Ted Strickland’s awful record as governor with the below Plain Dealer column, which ran exactly seven years ago today. Here are some highlights that columnist Brent Larkin pointed out while showcasing Strickland’s incompetence when it comes to budgeting:

“No one should believe he's a good governor -- because he's not."

“Strickland is, by no small margin, the worst governor for Cleveland in my lifetime.”

“What really good governors do is lead. Strickland hasn't done that yet. He's running out of time.”

Gov. Strickland is doing an appalling job for Ohio
Brent Larkin
June 28, 2009
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Larkin was The Plain Dealer's editorial director from 1991 until his retirement this year [2009].

Almost everyone thinks Ted Strickland is a good guy. No one should believe he's a good governor -- because he's not.

As Tuesday's deadline for resolving the state's budget crisis approaches, the governor's standing is clearly diminished. The lack of leadership this governor has shown throughout this crisis is nothing short of appalling.

Millions of Ohioans voted for Strickland. But only three people actually made him governor -- George W. Bush, Ken Blackwell and Bob Taft. Yes, Bob Taft had lots of issues as governor, but at least Taft understood state government and how it works.

This library funding fiasco will get worked out. But that a governor actually advocated a reckless policy that would destroy Ohio's fine system of public libraries shows how completely clueless he is about the state he's lived in pretty much all his life. The head of the Dayton library system put it best, saying Strickland's proposal made him "want to puke."

Sure, Strickland got dealt a bad hand, being governor during the worst meltdown of the world economy in 75 years. Yet at a time when Ohio desperately needs a governor who thinks first and foremost of the state's future, Strickland acts as if that future begins and ends with his 2010 re-election campaign.

As a result, his administration operates on an inexcusable double standard. Nothing else can explain why a governor would rather punish Ohio's youngest, oldest, poorest and most challenged citizens rather than raise taxes on snuff, cigarettes, cigars and alcohol products, or other "user" fees. Nothing else can explain a governor whose major contribution to the disastrous budget process wasn't a thoughtful casino plan that would maximize state revenue. No, this governor's visionary way of expanding gambling is to put slot machines in Ohio's decaying and struggling racetracks. How visionary!

If Strickland were a Republican, this state's many advocates for children would be burning him in effigy on the Statehouse lawn. But while these folks are extraordinarily well meaning, most are also Democrats. So their criticism of this governor is shamefully gentle.

Since the governor doesn't seem all that concerned with children in this budget process, the task of protecting them now falls to the legislature -- a body that seems inclined to care only about protecting nursing homes.

I have known House Speaker Armond Budish for nearly 30 years. But the Budish who is House speaker isn't the same Shaker Heights Democrat I met way back when. Today's Budish seems to have put many of his ideals in a lockbox so those pesky little principles don't get in the way of governing.

Ohio history argues that Strickland can do what's right and still be re-elected. Two of the state's three previous governors dealt with significant budget problems by raising taxes during their first terms. Dick Celeste championed a huge increase in the state income tax. George Voinovich infuriated many members of his base by championing tax increases exceeding $500 million and trying unsuccessfully to impose a penny-per-can tax on soft drinks.

When Celeste and Voinovich raised taxes, some critics predicted it would deny them a second term. Both won landslide victories. Celeste crushed James A. Rhodes in 1986, and Voinovich piled up the largest winning margin in Ohio gubernatorial history against Rob Burch in 1994.

Celeste and Voinovich were, of course, governors from Cleveland. Strickland is, by no small margin, the worst governor for Cleveland in my lifetime. He has consistently tried to put out of business the charter schools that do heroic work educating city youngsters. He has watered down the Third Frontier -- the one state program with the potential to help revive the region's moribund economy and the single-most-important jewel in Taft's legacy. And his Ohio Department of Transportation has repeatedly -- and disgustingly -- shortchanged Greater Cleveland on its pressing highway needs. A great many corporate and political leaders think Strickland has been horrible for Greater Cleveland, but only Mayor Frank Jackson has summoned the courage to call him out.

Today begins what may be the most important week of Ted Strickland's governorship. We should all hope he remembers that, in tough times, governors have to cut spending. But good governors don't:

Abolish funding for a program that provides preschool to 14,400 low-income children.

Eliminate state aid to food pantries, especially in a recession.

Whack deep into programs for the mentally challenged and the elderly.

Permit the plundering of funding for their most important accomplishment -- in this case, higher education, the cornerstone of Ohio's economic future.

What really good governors do is lead.

Strickland hasn't done that yet. He's running out of time.

Link: http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/06/gov_strickland_is_doing_an_app.html

Background:
Last week, on the anniversary of former Governor Ted Strickland offering his devastating budget, the Portman for Senate Campaign re-released its web ad, “Shredded.” The web ad details Strickland’s harmful budget cuts that wreaked havoc all over Ohio.

Despite his campaign rhetoric and never-ending attempts to hide from his record, as governor, Retread Ted 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” and the Associated Press reported that “hordes of angry activists” protested the proposed cuts at the Statehouse.

Shredded” is part of the Portman Campaign’s ongoing seven-figure online ad buy that is detailing why Ted Strickland’s low-energy, “invisible” campaign can’t hide from the fact that he has the worst record of any Senate candidate in America. You may click HERE or on the video below to watch “Shredded.”

Shredded.gif

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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