Myths Buster

Feel like a political football?

by Larry Dorman on November 1st

This fall, public service workers have been used like a political football.

Some candidates are willing to toss public service workers around — and threaten our jobs, our healthcare, our pensions and the services we provide — if they think it will help them score points.

Take Tom Foley’s campaign for Governor, for example.

Foley suggested voiding union contracts. He said: “Declaring a fiscal emergency allows a governor to no longer be bound by the union contracts.” Really.

He’s ignoring the devastating implications that action would have on our state’s long term financial health. Think of the effect declaring a fiscal emergency would have on our bond rating! But he says it anyway, to capitalize on resentment against public service workers.

He’s announced plans for major budget cuts, but rarely names a single service he’d be willing to eliminate. He’s even claimed “the burden shouldn’t be on me to come up with every nickel” in cuts. The real reason: most services he could cut — our schools, our hospitals, public safety, higher education, job training programs — are extremely popular and cuts would result in higher property taxes at the municipal level across the state.

And his healthcare plan? Foley believes he could “reduce health care costs in Connecticut by 15 percent” without reducing benefits. Keep dreaming! His whole “core benefits” plan is about offering cheap bare-bones healthcare plans with less benefits. Coverage you can’t count on.

Foley has promised to start cutting pension and healthcare benefits for public service workers as soon as he takes office, and to privatize state services. These proposals are reckless, and Tom Foley is playing a dangerous game. His proposals wouldn’t just hurt public service workers: they’d hurt the whole middle class.

Tell politicians to stop using public service workers’ lives and families to score cheap political points.

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