Foley distances himself from Rell

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley distanced himself today from fellow Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, saying he does not support her Keno gambling proposal or her proposal to use $100 million of state dollars to lend to small businesses.

The Greenwich businessman also criticized Rell, whom he called a good friend, for allowing the current budget to become law. He said he would have vetoed the $37.6 billion two-year budget that is now facing a $1.2 billion hole.

Rell has recommended infusing $400 million in next years budget from a new Keno-gambling game offered at up to 1,000 bars and restaurants.

“I don’t think we should be considering any revenue increases … we have a spending problem,” Foley said during a press conference at the state Capitol today. Borrowing to cover operating budgets, “In the business world, that is the beginning of a death spiral.”

He said Keno is a “bad idea,” a “distraction” and “not a good policy to pursue.”

On creating a pool of money to lend to cash-strapped small businesses, Foley said the magnitude of need is not there yet and puts the state in a vulnerable position to lose $100 million by “underwriting losses.”

Foley said to help small businesses, the state should lower the credit standards state-chartered banks have to lend money.

“As a result people would be able to lend more,” he said, without putting $100 million of state dollars at risk.

Foley also called on Rell to signal to the legislature that she would veto a bill requiring employers provide paid sick days to end any progress it may make in the General Assembly.

“Even talking about this is a job killer,” he said.

Rell has “consistently said she opposes” similar paid sick day bills raised the past couple of years, said Rell spokseman Adam Liegeot.

But she has not gone so far as to specifically say she would veto it.

In the most recent Qunnipiac University poll, Foley was the frontrunner on the Republican side. But more than half of the voters remain undecided.

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