Politifact Virginia: Did Allen rein in spending as governor?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - George Allen is spending a lot of time talking about his record as governor in his race for the U.S. Senate. He likes to claim he is all about cutting spending.

On his web site, Allen's team touts his time as governor by saying quote: "He challenged critics and sentiment, that suggested it couldn't be done,  reining in government spending, and substantially reducing the size of the state workforce."

But, did then-governor Allen really rein in spending?  According to writers of Politifact Virginia, that claim is outright false.

There is quite a bit of the state budget that no governor can do much about, but from the raw numbers, Allen's administration ran the general fund spending up more than $3 billion.

Allen's staff claims that raw numbers aren't fair, because the economy was growing so fast. They point to efforts he made to reduce the rate of spending. Many of them, like a $2 billion tax cut, were turned back.

But, even that makes it difficult to make the case that he reined in spending. In raw numbers, spending rose more than 45%. If you subtract mandatory spending, it still results in a 20 % increase.

No matter how you look at it, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Warren Fiske believes it's hard to argue that Allen "reined in spending."

"When George Allen became governor in 1994, he inherited a $6.8 billion general fund.  When he left the governorship in 1998, he proposed a $9.8 billion general budget," Fiske said.

And you can see all the information behind this week's Politifact Virginia report on their web site, www.politifactvirginia.com and you can see all our past reports on my political blog, www.decisionvirginia.com.

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