Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Foley and Malloy Prospectus Compared Part 9– Veterans and Affordable Housing

This is the ninth in a series of blog posting regarding the plans of the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor, Tom Foley and Dan Malloy. All of the information provided in the posting is from the candidate’s web sites, http://www.danmalloy.com/policy and http://www.tomfoley2010.com clicking on the “Issues” and “Tom’s Plan” selections. The opinions are my own and not cleared with either candidate’s staff. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a supporter of Dan Malloy and worked as a volunteer on his 2006 campaign as well as the current 2010 campaign.

I will begin with some general observations about the plans that the candidates have posted on their web sites. If less is more, then Foley wins hands down. His plan turns out to be seven pages in my word document. The Malloy plan is a whopping forty eight pages with great detail. I guess that is fitting since most Republicans believe less government is better, obviously a short plan will lead to less government. From the Democratic perspective, government is good and Malloy shows just how he plans to shape and change much of the state government in great detail.

Of course, there is no guarantee that either of the candidate’s will do what they lay out on their web site when actually in office, but like a stock prospectus, it is an indication of the plan and direction each candidate will pursue once in office.

I am leaving out much of the explanatory text in the plans and just noting the planned action items. Both plans are written in the first person, so I will keep that same format as I quote or paraphrase from each plan. The reader will have to remember that the occasional “I” is either “Governor” Foley or “Governor” Malloy.

This comparison continues with the prospective governors’ take on veterans and affordable housing issues. This presentation is not a contrast but a presentation of the two issues that appear in one plan but not the other. Since I started with “Governor” Malloy in the last post, I will start with “Governor” Foley in this post. I will continue this alternate presenting throughout this series of postings.

“Governor” Tom Foley
“Governor” Foley does not discuss affordable housing in his plan. However he does have two short paragraphs on veterans.
All Americans understand and respect the sacrifices our military personnel make for the country. I served in Iraq as a civilian alongside our brave men and women in uniform. More than ever, we must continue to support our veterans and their families during and after active duty by sustaining the medical and other benefits they have earned for their service.
America is engaged in multiple conflicts around the world. The men and women in our armed services make sacrifices everyday so that those of us at home are safe. Many return with physical injuries and emotionally stressed. We must ensure that all our veterans and their families are well cared for and supported after they return from overseas.

“Governor” Dan Malloy
“Governor” Malloy only mentions veterans once in his plan – under taxes the plan states:
Real tax reform must Relieve the local property tax burden on low and middle income seniors, veterans, and individuals who are disabled.
However, the Malloy plan has a lengthy discussion on Housing Affordability and Opportunity. Here are the action statements from that plan.
One important ingredient in Connecticut's renewal is housing affordability. Affordability is key to attracting and retaining young skilled workers, and it's key to attracting and retaining small innovative companies that can grow to be major employers. In fact, I view it as critical to enhancing Connecticut's quality of life for all.
Connecticut must do more to address homelessness, particularly by enhancing its commitment to successful "sustainable housing" programs that help those who are at risk of revolving-door homelessness to find stability and to be at home.
Connecticut should do more to support applicants for federal funding and tax credits. It should expand the affordable housing bonus in its Historic Preservation Tax Credit program - a program that creates jobs and preserves our historical assets by encouraging rehabilitation of old buildings.
Connecticut should consider bonuses for affordable housing that are consistent with Transit Oriented Development. It should approach affordable housing expansion in a way that builds community and grows neighborhood connections.
And, it must tackle homelessness by doing more to support sustainable housing programs and addressing the root causes of homelessness linked to mental illness and economic opportunity.
We also cannot look at "housing" as a singular issue. Housing, like education and economic development, is an issue that is interconnected to the most significant issues facing our state.
We should consider affordable housing not only as a tool to make Connecticut more competitive, but also as an important investment in Connecticut's economic renewal.
Additionally, housing affordability in Connecticut is worsened by our overreliance on a property tax system that is among the costliest in the country.
In addition to the economic reasons we need to do better on affordable housing, there's another reason: family…. By making housing more affordable in Connecticut, we might just begin to reverse the trend where grandchildren only see their grandparents during the holidays.
For all these reasons - economic competitiveness, job creation, quality of life, and family - affordable housing needs to be at the top of the agenda for our next Governor.

The two topics considered by this article are the only two that are different in the plans (“Prospectus”) proposed by the two gubernatorial candidates. I suspect they arise from the different experiences of the candidates. Foley spent time with the armed forces during his tour with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq and Malloy dealt with the housing issue almost daily as the mayor of Connecticut’s fourth largest city. It doesn’t mean that Malloy will ignore veterans if elected governor or that Foley will not have a stand on housing. The ranking of the two issues in the minds of the two candidates is obviously different.

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