August 07, 2011|By PATRICK SCULLY, The Hartford Courant
An interesting dynamic has arisen from this summer of state labor unions’ discontent. Some self-proclaimed supporters of labor have become the most ardent critics of the governor. Some are saying they wish they could take back their vote for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. They have a right to their opinion. But it raises the question: Do they realize what would be happening if Republican Tom Foley were governor?
The draconian layoffs and cuts to state services that Malloy laid out as the so-called “Plan B” would look like ordering one-ply instead of two-ply toilet paper for state buildings compared to the state services Armageddon that would be taking place had Foley been elected (as he almost was).
Malloy’s concessions deal with labor is designed to save $1.6 billion over two years is in addition to the $2.6 billion in tax increases in his budget. Let’s not forget that Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland, promised not to raise taxes whatsoever — not the income tax on the super-rich, not on the middle class, not on anyone, and no sales tax increase. If Foley were governor and followed through on that promise, we would be seeing tens of thousands of layoffs and cuts to services that would leave the state unrecognizable. Is that what Malloy’s critics want?
Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto is a thoughtful and accomplished media relations professional who is deserving of being heard on the issues facing the state. He and other critics, however, are also hopelessly disconnected from the average Connecticut citizen and continue to wallow in the failed, far-left, now-fringe policies of 1970s.
George McGovern is no longer relevant, nor are his policies. Today’s Democrats (myself included) are in the camp of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and, yes, Dan Malloy.
Recently, Pelto bemoaned the potentially self-inflicted layoff of as many as 6,500 state employees. He wrote, “Not only are thousands of Connecticut families suffering because of this [Malloy] administration’s failure but many more will suffer as vital services are curtailed.” He concludes that he wants to take back his 2010 vote for Malloy. That of course leaves him with Foley.
Of that, Pelto writes, “At least with Foley we would have had a legislature branch of government that was willing to stand up and do the right thing.”
Have Pelto, et al. lost their collective mind? Have they been so busy beating up the governor and ignoring the fact that union members had a golden opportunity to avoid the layoff of their “brothers” and “sisters” that he has forgotten what Foley wanted to do?
The fact is, state employee labor unions had a chance — and now have another — to take a deal that includes in essence, a four-year no-layoff guarantee, no furlough days, a 9 percent wage increase over five years, with changes to their health plan (not the nonexistent SustiNet plan) and some changes to their pension plans. They said no.
They turned down the chance to be the anti-New York, the anti-New Jersey, the anti-Minnesota, the anti-Wisconsin and the anti-Ohio. Now they and the rest of us will suffer. It was an unbelievably stupid choice. Now, they get another vote and they will likely take the deal.
Malloy critics say the concessions deal would not achieve the savings he says it would. They’re probably right, but so what? The state workers would all have their jobs and the resulting numbers would be Malloy’s problem. Pelto and labor should wake up and smell the coffee. The layoffs — should God forbid, they happen — would be of labor’s own doing, and today’s progressive Democrats realize this.