The Shad has spent much of the last month or so making the case on TV, in a highly-publicized radio debate and in this space that state employees were smart to take the concessions deal reached with the Malloy administration. My main argument is that the deal was a good one as far as having to give back what was fairly negotiated. National anti-public employee trends are already in evidence. However, my main point was that the alternative to Gov. Dannel Malloy in the last gubernatorial election, Republican Tom Foley, would have decimated the ranks of state employee unions and cut state services to the point they would be nearly nonexistent. Some people argued otherwise. But now we have it straight from the (polo-playing) horse’s mouth—Tom Foley himself, in an op-ed in the Hartford Courant—makes it clear he would do just as I described.
In making his case that the number of state employees must be slashed—and I doubt he would have negotiated anything—Foley writes, “The ‘deal’ with the unions does not reduce the cost of the state workforce and limits the governor’s options. Wages are held level for two years and then go up 10 percent over the next three. The cost of state workers’ benefits will continue to rise. The governor cannot lay off anyone for three years, an ill-advised loss of flexibility learned the hard way during Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s last two years in office.”
At the risk of redundancy, I have to again point out that Foley promised he would not raise taxes on anyone or anything—not his fellow super-rich neighbors in Greenwich, not the simply rich residents of the state, no one. That leaves the state employee workforce as the major source of his savings to close the $3.6 billion hole in the budget, something Malloy did with a balance of taxes, agency consolidations and union give-backs. Foley would have likely laid-off tens of thousands of state employs.
This is all something we should remember three and a half years from now because Foley is clearly itching for a rematch.