[The American people are] looking for responsible leadership, and maybe responsible leadership may become something that’s popular here in the next six months or so and we might get something out of this [Obama debt] commission. But I have to tell you something: If we don’t get something out of that commission, we are over the cliff."
Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
June 2, 2010 in an interview with The Hill newspaper
- Retiring Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) likes to fashion himself a “fiscal hawk.” However, his real record as governor and senator shows that his real agenda is to hike spending and hike taxes—the definition of fiscal irresponsibility
- As governor, Voinovich raised the Ohio state government budget from $10.7 billion the year he won election in 1990, all the way to $15.6 billion when he left office in 1998. Even after adjusting for inflation, this is a 17 percent real spike in the Ohio state budget, nearly four times the rate of population growth (Source: Buckeye Institute).
- In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer on September 28, 2009, Voinovich counseled Governor Ted Strickland to raise taxes in the face of an overspending crisis. This strategy is familiar to Voinovich, since he raised taxes in 1991 to pay for his spending agenda. In his 1991 State of the State address, he bragged about proposing $1 billion in “revenue enhancements.” These ultimately included: raising the top income tax bracket from 7 to 7.5 percent; an expanded sales tax base; higher taxes on gas, cigarettes, and alcoholic beverages; a bed tax on nursing homes, a tax on soft drinks, and several environmental taxes. In his first term, Voinovich raised taxes on Ohio families by an average of $1400 after inflation (Source: Cato Institute, “Fiscal Policy Report Card on Governors,” 1994 and 1996)
- Between 1990 and 1998, government employment in Ohio grew. State employee ranks grew by 2.5 percent, to 163,700. There was a massive 13.3 percent explosion in local government employment, to 518,500. Over time, these higher levels of government employment have led to underfunded pensions, unfunded health insurance obligations, and golden parachute deals for state employees (Source: BLS).
- Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Ohio grew by 4.6 percent. During that same time period, the population of the United States grew by 13.2 percent. That families were fleeing Ohio during this time period is no surprise. The Cato Institute’s “Fiscal Policy Scorecard for Governors” gave Voinovich grades of “C” (1991-1992), “D” (1993-1994), “F” (1995-1996), and “D” (1997-1998). That’s an average score of “D” for his entire governorship.
- Simply put, Voinovich has no credibility as a “fiscal hawk.” His legacy is one of consistent support for higher taxes, more spending, and empowering public employee unions.