Howard Dean Says He Limited Vermont Budget Increases to Economic Growth-But One Year He Signed a Budget Increase FOUR Times That Large!

WASHINGTON – Today\’s Washington Times quotes presidential hopeful Howard Dean (D) saying that, as Governor of Vermont, he limited state budget increases to the rate of gross state product (GSP) growth. But four of his annual budget increases exceeded GSP growth, including one whopping 23.7% increase, more than four times that year\’s GSP rise. Overall, Vermont state spending grew 83% under Dean from 1992 through 2001, 58% faster than the state\’s economy.

Howard Dean Says:

"[My fiscal policy as president] will be to limit the federal budget\’s rate of growth to the rate of growth in the economy… That\’s what we did in Vermont. You never let the budget grow faster than the economy."

But Under Howard Dean:

Year Vermont GSP Growth State Spending Growth
1995 1.7% 5.3%
1998 5.1% 8.1%
1999 5.3% 13.4%
2000 5.6% 23.7%

"Howard Dean likes to call himself a \’fiscal conservative,\’ and maybe he would have been one in 1970s Sweden," said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). "But here in America, growing your state budget at 23.7% isn\’t fiscally conservative-it\’s fiscally insane. It\’s no wonder Dean is so ashamed of his tax-and-spend record he has to hide it-I wouldn\’t want to admit it either."

Dean\’s claim about the Vermont budget isn\’t the first tall tale he\’s told on the campaign trail. Today\’s San Jose Mercury News reports that Dean claimed never to have supported raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, even though he endorsed such a move in 1995; he also said he opposed raising the age to 68, despite saying he would consider doing so just two months ago.

"Can we believe anything Howard Dean says?" asked Norquist. "Maybe next he\’ll tell us that, during his service as Vermont Governor, he took initiative in creating the Internet."