Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Foley and Malloy Prospectus Compared Part 10– Conclusions

This is the tenth and final article 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, and 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.

Over the past two weeks, I have presented each section of the two candidates’ plans side by side. 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 left out most of the explanatory text in the plans and just noted the planned action items. Both plans are written in the first person, so I kept that same format as I quoted or paraphrased from each plan.

As noted by my moniker, I am a former naval person and one of the first things we learned in military planning was that no plan survives intact from first contact with the enemy. However, having a detailed plan with options based on possible reactions to the plan will generally lead to more success than a brief plan with few alternatives. I also learned to adhere to the “seven Ps- Prior proper planning prevents p*** poor performance.”

So, I will conclude this series with some direct comparisons between the two plans and leave the reader to decide which plan would be best for Connecticut in the next four years.

Where the plans are the same or similar
1. Both candidates plan to work personally on recruiting new companies to Connecticut.
2. Both candidates will ask the legislature to adapt the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for budget and spending analysis at the state level just as it is required for municipalities.
3. Both candidates will look to other states as “benchmarks” for tax rates and tax policies.
4. Both candidates are in favor of electronic health records as one item to help reduce healthcare costs and increase benefit to the patient.
5. Both candidates see alternative energy sources as one of the ways to improve the environment and reduce the cost of using energy.

The Emphasis of each plan
“Governor” Foley’s plan has two points of emphasis. The first is to reduce taxes and spending. To quote – “. In my first year, I pledge to reduce the cost of state government by at least $1 billion to help balance the budget and make state government affordable again.” Foley also promises to veto any attempt by the legislature to raise taxes. Foley also states that he will not take a salary as Governor. The second point of emphasis is the aim to be “business friendly” to the exclusion of any other constituency. Not only reducing taxes on businesses but also reducing regulations and red tape and anything else that will hinder the conduct of free enterprise. For example, the only comment on transportation is that he will direct the Transportation Strategy Board to incorporate employer’s needs into any proposed plan.

When Foley’s plan gets beyond business development and reducing taxes and government spending, it becomes very general and mostly what I would call “boilerplate”. For example, healthcare costs may be reduced by permitting the interstate sale of health insurance. A general statement that Connecticut energy costs are too high and that energy efficiency and sources of alternative energy should be encouraged. Public Safety is summarized by saying the state law enforcement agencies should communicate with neighboring states and the Federal Government about potential terrorist threats.

“Governor” Malloy’s plan is very detailed in all areas. In my analysis I only picked out the action statements. If you read the plan on line you will see that each action item is detailed and surrounded by how a similar action was done in Stamford successfully. For example, Mayor Malloy successfully lobbied the Federal Government for funds for Stamford to improve the city’s infrastructure. He also was personally involved in recruiting businesses to Stamford.
Malloy has a unique plan in economic development that will involve local political and business leaders in planning and carrying out the economic development for their region assisted by the support of the state.
As noted in the individual posting, the Education portion of the plan reflects Malloy’s own educational experience as well as his efforts in making education available for all in Stamford. His Health Care plan covers mental as well as physical health.

The Malloy plan is superior to the Foley plan in all respects. Rather than a series of bullet points, it is a well thought our listing of actions “Governor” Malloy believes are necessary for Connecticut to succeed in the immediate and the far future.

Voter Decision
The voter will have to decide if a governor that is pro business and anti taxes and spending with little else to offer in his plan is the best for Connecticut or if a governor that has thought about what to do as a governor in nearly all areas of state government and offered a detailed outline of his plans with extensive backup and has shown experience in running a government of a large city in the state is the best choice.
The real question is whether the Malloy campaign will be able to distill the details of his plan into “bite sized” nuggets in thirty second commercials. The vague generalities of the Foley plan are more conducive to the campaign ad. It is not likely that most voters will see any of the planned debates where Malloy’s knowledge of the workings of government and debating ability should serve him in good stead when compared to Mr. Foley so campaign commercials will be key in defining Malloy to the voter.

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