A report released last week reveals that Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley paid virtually no federal taxes in 2013, fueling controversy over whether the candidate’s personal wealth is relevant to his campaign.
According to a summary report of Foley’s federal tax returns released by his campaign last week, the businessman paid only $673 dollars taxes despite personal wealth abundant enough to allow him to spend $11 million on his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The report revealed that after “losses” were accounted for, the only tax that Foley had to pay was for self-employment.
Foley founded NTC Group, a private investment firm.
The report did not provide information on the source of the losses, which offset nearly $90,000 that Foley reported in dividend incomes and capital gains in 2013, according to an article published in the Hartford Courant.
While Democrat state lawmakers argued that Foley’s wealth illuminates a problematic gap between the candidate and middle and working class citizens, Republican lawmakers defended Foley, adding that the candidate should not be punished for personal success.
Republican State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Toni Boucher said the tax summary is “just noise” and not information that voters should focus on the November election.
“There’s too much negativity,” she said. “Let’s be smart and strong. We’re not going to [vote] in an unemotional, unbiased sort of way.”
She said that instead of focusing on Foley’s tax payments, voters should keep the state of the economy at the forefront of their minds on Nov. 4. She cited that the 2011 and 2013 state budgets introduced the highest-ever taxes into the state, which has contributed to Connecticut’s ranking as one of the lowest performing economies in the nation by multiple publications. Boucher called Foley a “turnaround specialist” because of his experience working with NTC group, which buys and sells companies.
“The state needs different people at different times,” Boucher said. “Connecticut is on its financial knees, and what we need is a turnaround specialist with a clear head and strong policies.”
But while Boucher regarded Foley’s tax payments as irrelevant to the election, Democrats thought differently.
State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a Democrat, said that because the tax report related to Foley’s fitness as a gubernatorial candidate, the information was pertinent.
He said that the tax summary further emphasizes the gulf between Foley — a wealthy investor — and the average Connecticut resident. Students, for the most part, agreed that Foley’s tax summary is relevant to the elections. Of 15 students interviewed, 13 said the tax summary would influence their votes on Election Day.
“It would affect my decision,” said Amey Mahajan ’17, who did not disclose his political affiliation. “I think the richest people need to be taxed more.”
Iain Barr ’17 said the information would not influence his decision because Foley did not break any laws, and so could not be judged for paying $673 in federal taxes.
Meanwhile, political science professor at Sacred Heart University Gary Rose said because the vast majority of voters has already decided who they will vote for, the tax summary was not a “bombshell.” He added that throughout his campaign, incumbent Gov. Dannel Malloy has portrayed Foley as a candidate who is out of touch with voters because of his wealth. Thus, the tax summary does not add anything new to the campaign.
Connecticut GOP Communications Director Zak Sanders said the state’s poor economic situation would motivate voters struggling after losing their jobs and homes to support Foley.
“Voters know that a Tom Foley administration would mean lower taxes and new higher-paying jobs,” he said. “Tom understands that Connecticut’s hardworking families are struggling under the weight of the largest tax increase in state history.”
The gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 4.