Foley and Malloy clash on health care, labor issues
Published 1:26 pm, Thursday, October 21, 2010
FAIRFIELD -- In their least confrontational debate in the race for governor, Republican Tom Foley and Democrat Dannel Malloy sparred Tuesday regarding unionized workers, health care and privatizing state services.
Malloy said he would not change the current system of binding arbitration, in which teachers and public safety workers give up the right to strike in exchange for neutral reviews of contract proposals.
Foley supports major changes to bring down the cost of local government, including revisions to binding arbitration.
"We've gotten labor peace," Malloy said. "That's the kind of system I support. It's designed to bring about settlement." He said arbitrated contracts often come in with zero-percent increases while still fostering "values, fairness and spirit of cooperation."
"Dan's starting to sound like a union representative," Foley said. "Everybody suffers from this, through higher property taxes."
Malloy read a section of Foley's health care proposals that would exempt employers from mandated services, including prevention, mammograms, mastectomies and prostate cancer screening.
Foley said Malloy has been misleading voters and using scare tactics to misrepresent his position.
"In my health care plan for Connecticut, I proposed a way of expanding even further health care coverage to people who currently aren't covered," Foley said, noting that the state's health care costs of about $7 billion is a third of the annual operating budget.
"If we can bring down the cost of delivering health care, we can save a significant amount of money in our state budget," Foley said.
Foley said that major savings could be realized through the privatization of state services.
"When I go to Hartford, I will represent the taxpayers and the voters to make sure you are getting the best deal for your money," Foley said. "It does not make sense to use our state work force to perform a service, for example, if it can be less expensive, but at the same level of quality and accountability by a private contractor."
Foley said it fits into his overall plan to reduce state spending and tackle the projected $3.5 billion budget deficit without raising taxes. "Dan has no significant proposals for reducing spending," Foley said. "He's going to raise his taxes and that's going to be a lot of new taxes on Connecticut families."
Malloy said many state services are already being performed by private contractors.
"Tom keeps saying I'm going to raise his taxes, but Tom's math is a little fuzzy," Malloy said. "He acknowledges there's a $3.5 billion deficit and then he says he's going to cut that deficit by eliminating $2 billion in expenditures. You know what Tom's plan is? To raise your property taxes, the most regressive tax the state has. It's the only way he can pull his fuzzy math off."
Foley responded that Malloy hasn't shown how to get to the bottom line.
"If you're going to solve the budget deficit by raising taxes, they're going to go up a lot," Foley said. "Dan, I think you owe it to the listeners tonight and to the people of Connecticut to tell them which taxes are you going to raise and by how much?"