WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush’s address Tuesday night,in which he called for tax and debt reduction while bolstering the military and education,garnered mixed reaction from the Ohio delegation.
“After two years in a row of massive spending increases,it’s very refreshing to hear the President talk about spending restraining,” said Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). “I hope Congress has the discipline and willpower to follow his lead.”
But Bush’s political opponents on the other side of the aisle were less reassured by the $2 trillion budget.
“He outlined worthy goals and presented noble ideas,” said Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH). “However we have yet to see a budget telling us how the President hopes to accomplish the things he talked about.”
Bush suggested $1.6 trillion in tax cuts in every tax bracket.
“The people of America have been overcharged and on their behalf,I am here to ask for a refund,” he said.
Democrats were less than convinced.
“There is doubt that American working families need and deserve a significant tax break,” he said.
But the plans are based on projections that are based on a surplus in each year,something that could be misforecast,Strickland said.
“We must also address the coming strain that the Social Security system will face as it bends under the weight of retiring Baby Boomers.”
Bush’s plan increases the federal education budget 4.6 percent,to $44.5 billion,and calls for reform that includes charter schools.
But Bush kept GOP platform firm as he reinforced his states’ rights.
“We should not and we will not run our public schools from Washington,D.C.,” Bush said. “Yet when the Federal Government spends tax dollars,we must insist on results.”
Voinovich rallied behind the reaffirmation.
“Congress is not the national school board and the President is not the national school superintendent,” he said. “I’m a big defender of the local authority in education and I’m glad to see the President’s education position reflects this same priority.”
Bush stuck to his campaign-trail guns,proposing education as his top priority.
“The highest percentage increase in our budget should go to our children’s education,” Bush said.
Yet his Department of Defense spending plan includes a 14.2 percent increase,three times the increase for education,raising the defense budget to $310.5 billion dollars,almost seven times the amount of federal funding for education.