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Foley Focuses On Cities In Making Run For Governor Official

by Christine Stuart | Jan 29, 2014 5:46pm
(11) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Town News, Waterbury, Poverty, State Budget, Taxes

Christine Stuart photo

Tom Foley

Republican Tom Foley chose a V.F.W. Hall in Waterbury on Wednesday to make his second bid for governor official.

Foley, the former Ambassador to Ireland and chairman of NTC Group, announced in September that he was using public financing to explore a run for governor after using about $10 million of his own money on the race four years ago.

If elected, Foley, the 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost by just 6,404 votes, said he would cut the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 5.85 percent and invest more in strategies to help turn around Connecticut’s urban areas.

He estimated the sales tax cut would cost the state about $350 million a year and he would pay for it by “holding discretionary spending flat for two years.” That means the tax cut wouldn’t come until his third year in office.

Beyond cutting what he described as one of the “most regressive taxes,” he said, he would also implement an urban policy agenda that focuses on schools, crime, housing, poverty, and jobs, “to address the problems of our cities and the most vulnerable people in them.”

And unlike some of his fellow Republicans in the legislature, Foley said he supports the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Connecticut implemented an Earned Income Tax Credit in 2011 that’s equal to about 30 percent of a filer’s federal tax credit. Data shows that working families in every town in the state benefited from the credit and received an average of $601 back from the state after filing their tax return.

Christine Stuart photo

Hearing a candidate with an anti-poverty, urban strategy was music to Regina Roundtree’s ears, but Democratic Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary was skeptical.

Roundtree, founder of Connecticut Black Republicans and Conservatives, said Foley is the first candidate to come out and talk about urban policies and the importance of the cities to our state. She said she hasn’t thrown her support behind any candidate yet, but is encouraged that Foley is committed to the cities.

O’Leary said catering to the cities may be a good political strategy, but the issues in the race are the same as they were four years ago.

“I never heard how all these spending cuts were going to impact cities,” O’Leary said. “We need revenue. We rely on state aid. Period.”

He said 35 percent of the funding Waterbury receives comes from the state, so if candidates like Foley are going to make cuts he wants to know how they will impact his community and his budget.

Foley said he would hold discretionary spending flat for two years and once spending is under control he would cuts the sales tax by a half a percent.

Christine Stuart photo O’Leary said he wants more details and a definition of what Foley kept saying was “discretionary spending.”

Education Funding

“I will fix our city schools with real education reform,” Foley said. “We must do this to ensure every young person in Connecticut gets a fair start with a decent education.”

Foley said he wouldn’t interfere with local control of schools that are performing well, but where they are not performing well he will introduce “in-district school choice, money follows the child, more support for teachers, and a threshold reading test for advancement to fourth grade.”

He said wealthier suburban communities should help by allowing a greater amount of money to go to the urban communities where the state has the most underperforming schools.

Roundtree said she’s seen some of the urban policies Foley has been drafting and they help keep people out of poverty while saving the state money. For instance, using an ankle bracelet program for non-violent offenders to keep them in their homes and united with their families would save the state money because the cost of sending them to prison is much greater.

Foley vowed to work with anyone to “break the cycle of poverty.”

“Connecticut’s future is only as good as the future of our cities,” Foley said.

He said the challenges of cities would be a huge commitment of his administration.

But Foley faces stiff competition from within the Republican Party. Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former West Hartford Town Councilor Joseph Visconti, and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti are running for the Republican nomination and Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton is still exploring.

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(11) Comments

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | January 29, 2014  9:33pm

DrHunterSThompson

throwing good money after bad.

HST

posted by: dano860 | January 29, 2014  11:30pm

One of Dannel’s concerns is how Foley is going to fund the campaign.
Dannel has a lot of room to talk! I don’t think so!

posted by: art vandelay | January 30, 2014  6:51am

art vandelay

Foley’s doing something the Republican Establishment refuse to do and that’s getting involved with the inner city.  He realizes that if the Republicans do not get involved, their party is doomed.  I give him credit.

posted by: Lawrence | January 30, 2014  7:08am

Flat funding does not account for the 3.4% inflation that OFA is projecting for the two years of 2015-2016.

That’s esp. troubling, considering CCM—the mayors of those big cities that Mr. Foley wants to appeal to—have just demanded flat state funding or an increase in state assistance over the next several years.

And state aid to cities is discretionary, not mandatory.

posted by: AndersonScooper | January 30, 2014  7:42am

Dear god, please let it be Foley!!

posted by: dano860 | January 30, 2014  9:15am

Art, he’s targeting the people that cost him the election the last time. The takers, not the makers.

posted by: Salmo | January 30, 2014  4:18pm

Oh, please! Not this again. Who has the private plane and the bigger yacht and the more private backyard. Give me a break. You want a Republican governor at least stump for a thinking person. Mr. Boughton, at least, has some positive things going for him.

posted by: Brian L Jenkins | January 30, 2014  5:10pm

As a former Alderman and Chairman of the Black & Hispanic of the City of New Haven, it is indeed refreshing to hear a Republican candidate for governor talk about addressing the needs of the inner city.

Contrary to dano860, the idea that those who live in the the inner cities are “takers,” shows just how detached you are from reality.  If you were to do your homework (prior to sounding like a fool), you would have realized that there are thousands in the inner cities who pay more in property taxes than do you, regardless of where you live.

To Tom Foley’s credit, he did his homework and arrived at what he believes to be a winning strategy.  But what’s more important than just words Mr. Foley, it’s deeds to back up those words.

I look forward to hearing and reading more about his platform.

To the Republican Party, not all Democrats are in opposition to Republican candidates vying for political office.  It’s the vitriol that deters us from being more supportive.

posted by: dano860 | January 30, 2014  10:54pm

Salmo, I tend to agree with you but he needs to get out of the western side of the State. There are a bunch of people (voters) that have no clue who he is out here in the east.

posted by: art vandelay | January 30, 2014  11:02pm

art vandelay

@dano860,
Exactly!  It’s the point I was trying to make. In order for the Republican Party to take control of the House & Senate, they need to get involved heavily in the urban areas of this state.  It’s something that “Chamber of Commerce” & RINO Republicans who control the party REFUSE to do.  Until this mindset is reversed, the Republican Party in this state is DOOMED!

posted by: art vandelay | January 31, 2014  7:41am

art vandelay

@Brian L. Jenkins,  Points well taken. Thank you.  I’m sure urban Democrats would not be in opposition to Republican candidates.  Problem is there are few if any Republican candidates running for local offices in Connecticut’s major cities. Even if there were, 95% of the urban vote goes to the Democrats anyway.  The recent election of Toni Harp in New Haven is an excellent example.