by Jennifer Swift
Jun 11, 2013
08:18 PMConnecticut Politics
Tom Foley Gives Legislators an 'F' on Budget
Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Foley regards this year’s recently concluded legislative session as “more of the same.”
“And the same hasn’t worked,” he said. “This legislature … they just keep trying to do the same thing again, which is spending more money than we can afford … it’s a combination of bad policies and mistrust that’s got the state in trouble and until it changes, the state’s not going to improve.”
The state legislature passed a biennium budget of $37.6 billion minutes before midnight Wednesday.
“On the budget, I think it was an abysmal failure. They get an ‘F’ on that,” Foley said. He regarded an exemption of $6.4 billion in Medicaid spending from the spending cap as a sly move, with the cooperation of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Foley laughed when asked his opinion on legalizing Keno as a move to plug a revenue hole: “It’s embarrassing,” he said.
“Pulling money out of the transportation fund into the general fund is shameful,” he said, adding that roads and bridges are deteriorating.
The budget takes $91.3 million from the special transportation fund the first year of the budget, and an additional $18.4 million the second year.
Regarding the gun control legislation that was passed, Foley said he would have proposed “a very different bill” were he governor.
“I think the tragedy of Newtown was mostly the result of a mental health problem, and the [bill] did next to nothing to address the mental health issue,” he said. “I don’t think they really solved the problem.”
His bill would have focused on helping those individuals who have family members suffering from mental health issues, adding that there’s “very little” to help families in Connecticut.
Foley is also against the legislation passed that allows for undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
“I think from a policy point of view the state of Connecticut should not be doing things that encourage or reward illegal immigration,” he said.
The tragedy in Newtown also prompted legislation to restrict the release of crime scene photos without consent of the guardian of the victims. Initially drafted specifically to the Newtown incident in scope, it was later changed to include photos of the victims of all homicides. That’s one bill Foley agrees with.
“I think there is a limit. There is a line where the public right to know and the press’ right to know and disseminate information crosses the right to privacy, and I think that was a case where the governor and the legislature got it right.”
In a conference call last week with reporters after the budget was passed Malloy said the budget, while not perfect, was a compromise.
Malloy touted the budget for making investments in public education, fully funding pensions and continuing the priorities the state has outlined.
“We’ve gotten our priorities straight,” he said.
Malloy, who has criticized sweeps of accounts for one-time transfers said the ones in this budget are “minor sweeps”
“This budget, like all budgets is not perfect, compromises have to be made,” he said.Tom Foley Gives Legislators an 'F' on Budget