"Dan Blankenship’s letter in your last issue (Mail, “Ditch Mitch?” Aug. 2-9) reflects the reality that governors (and perhaps all political leaders) sometimes get more blame, and more credit, than they deserve.
Blankenship’s excitement about Gov. Daniels should be tempered with some basic facts. Gov. Frank O’Bannon began the HoosierRx program in 1999 using money from Indiana’s portion of the national tobacco settlement. The program initially helped about 20,000 low-income seniors access needed prescription drugs while the Republican-controlled Congress spent years debating the need for a federal prescription drug benefit under Medicare.
That Gov. Daniels has expanded or enhanced the program is noteworthy, but he didn’t invent or create the program.
Finally, Indiana’s budget was balanced each and every year prior to Gov. Daniels’ arrival — at least by the definition that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in those days. As the state’s surplus grew to more than $2 billion under Gov. O’Bannon, Republicans joined Democrats in voting for more than $1.5 billion in tax cuts and spending initiatives for highway and road construction, university enhancements and reducing pension liabilities.
The definition of a “balanced budget” has moved, it seems, with some of those same Republicans who enthusiastically supported “spending more than we took in” (as in, giving back to taxpayers their tax dollars in the form of tax cuts and targeted spending) now changing what a “balanced budget” truly is.
Could they be seeking more credit than they deserve? There seems to be a rash of that lately.