U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) today released the following statement on the House message to accompany H.R.1586, the legislative vehicle for Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) aid to states and teacher education:
"As a former governor of Ohio and mayor of Cleveland, I understand the need to make tough choices and how difficult it is to prioritize key programs. I was forced to make these heart-wrenching decisions in order to improve the fiscal health of the state of Ohio and the city of Cleveland.
"This legislation furthers the involvement of the federal government in education, which is a responsibility that should remain with state and local governments. At a time when the federal debt is expected to reach $14 trillion by the end of the year, local officials can no longer rely on an injection of money from Washington when times get tough. Today's aid package would only help state and local governments cope with the current revenue shortfall in the short term, failing to fix the long-term budget issues. The bill also makes dramatic changes to our tax code to provide additional state assistance for the Medicaid programs.
"I have heard from businesses who have indicated that the taxes in this legislation will harm job creation at a critical time for our nation's economic health. This is especially troublesome to me at a time when Ohio's unemployment is more than 10 percent. Moreover, I am concerned about the ad hoc approach my colleagues have taken when it comes to paying for new spending. It seems that anytime we want to spend money, we simply throw a dart at the tax code. Wherever the dart lands, that's the code section we use to pay for the legislative flavor of the week. I have already voiced my concern to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus about this piecemeal approach. This approach will also impede the president's fiscal commission from providing the comprehensive tax reform recommendations needed to guide the United States back to the path of economic prosperity.
"Now is the time to rein in our nation's out-of-control federal spending and stop kicking the can down the road. Congress must have the guts to make hard choices so Americans can have a brighter future. Gone are the days when public officials are measured by how much they spend on a problem; today public officials should be judged on whether they can work harder and smarter, and do more with less."