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That's Not A Bug, That's A Feature!

I have an acquaintance who's a Democratic activist. He's quite involved in Vermont politics, and occasionally dabbles in New Hampshire matters. We often needle each other about our political preferences.

Recently, he commented on a New Hampshire congressional race. My friend said that he was quite impressed with Anne Kuster, the Democratic nominee for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District (which is where I happen to live). He said he was quite impressed with her, and had recently done some phone work for her campaign.

Then he went for the needle. "You know who she's running against, right? Charlie Bass. He had that seat for twelve years, and was the biggest do-nothing on Capitol Hill."

That's when I knew that my friend really, really didn't grasp the way I see things.

"Bass was a do-nothing congressman? Pal, you just convinced me. Now I HAVE to vote for the guy!"

As the old saying goes, "no man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session." To me, being called a "do-nothing congressman" by a liberal is a badge of honor. It means that the representative doesn't try to find any excuse to pass a new law or regulation.

We need more "do-nothing" legislators. Not an entire Congress of do-nothings, but we certainly have too many "active" lawmakers.

I like to brag about New Hampshire, and our political climate. (Not so much the recent blue tint, but that seems to be fading.) We have a very laissez-faire set of laws, as well as being the only state with absolutely no sales or income taxes. For example, we have no mandatory seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws (for adults -- we're not anarchists or barbarians). How do we manage that?

I've long held the belief that part of the reason is the way we have set up our legislature.

New Hampshire's General Court is the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world, with 24 Senators and 400 Representatives. Considering that the state only has about 1.2 million people, that means each representative only has about 3,000 constituents on average. That means that there's a halfway decent chance that a citizen knows his or her representative personally. That means that when the rep goes off the reservation, they can count on getting an earful from their constituents at the soonest opportunity.

Further, nobody goes to Concord for the money. The annual pay for a legislator in New Hampshire? $100.00. That's no typo -- one hundred dollars a year. (Plus mileage to and from Concord, of course.) That means that we don't have "professional lawmakers" on the public payroll.

I've seen it in other states, especially Massachusetts. Being a legislator is a full-time job there -- the starting pay is almost $50,000 a year. If you have a bunch of people who think of their job is to pass laws, then they're going to pass laws to show that they deserve their pay. So they pass laws, and taxes to pay for those laws, and more laws, so they can show their bosses -- the people who pay their salary that they use to support themselves and their families -- that they're worth all that money.

Here in New Hampshire, ain't nobody living off their legislative pay. Being a legislator is only for those who have the time to spare, and have alternate means of support. So we end up with a State House filled with housewives, retirees, independently wealthy folks, professionals, students, and the like -- all of whom don't need the money.

So we end up with a legislature that doesn't "look like New Hampshire" -- but I don't give a rat's ass about that. Instead, we got a legislature that sees it not as a job, but a duty. That either don't have the time to spare to raise taxes and spending, or realizes that most of those taxes will be hitting themselves. That actually have lives outside of public service.

That's kind of gone astray in the past four years, since the Democrats swept New Hampshire. In the first year we went blue, the state budget went up by over 16% in one year alone -- and it has kept going up ever since.

It's swinging back now. A lot of my fellow Granite Staters got drunk on the promises of the liberals, and seriously drunk. Now, though, we're dealing with the hangover -- and come November, I think it's the Democrats in New Hampshire who will be feeling the headache and enjoying the dry heaves.

They certainly have earned it, having been on a spending bender for four years.

And if, as part of the repudiation of the Democrats, New Hampshire returns "do-nothing" Charlie Bass to Congress... well, at least he'll represent the physician's rule of "first, do no harm."


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Comments (17)

the only state with abso... (Below threshold)

the only state with absolutely no sales or income taxes.

Which means all of us tourists don't contribute much of anything to your schools or upkeep and you get to pay it all in property taxes. Thanks for that. Oh, and sorry about your disintegrating school systems and everything ;) Have they come up with a replacement for the distribution of school district funding that hasn't been thrown out by the courts?

You still got that "view tax", by the way?

Oh, and has the legislature managed to get you guys hooked up to that new-fangled space-age "EZ Pass" system, yet, or is that still a few years away after they figure out how it works? ;)

"If you have a bunch of peo... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

"If you have a bunch of people who think of their job is to pass laws, then they're going to pass laws to show that they deserve their pay."

I've been on homeowner association board's and been scolded by peer's "Here it is election time and we haven't done anything".

Meaning author regulations or find creative ways to spend. It's a sickness.

Falze, why should tourists ... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

Falze, why should tourists being paying for the schools? oh wait, that's part and parcel of the liberal ideologies. demand some service from government, and then demand that somebody else pays for it.

and there is a difference between effectively performaing the civic leadership roles and making laws just for the sake of making laws. you seem to be argueing that we need a professional political class in order to have effective government services. emperically, this is false.

#3The tourists con... (Below threshold)
Rance:

#3

The tourists contribute to the wear and tear on the infrastructure, they get police and fire protection, they use the public parks, etc.

Why shouldn't they pay for a part of it?

The Party of No Freakin' Wa... (Below threshold)
Roy:

The Party of No Freakin' Way.

We almost moved to N... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

We almost moved to Nashua a few years ago, but the job fell through. I've often told my husband if it was so cold up there I'd move to NH in a heartbeat - job or not.

#4 granted. but Falze speci... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

#4 granted. but Falze specifically called out schools. not roads. not infrastructure. things like business taxes on hotels and cabs, etc, can contribute to those items. i'm unclear as to why anyone would expect travelers to explicitly be helping to fund schools.

Oh, well, let the interlope... (Below threshold)
clearmind:

Oh, well, let the interlopers bitch. Let's see... the traffic between MA and NH liquor stores causes traffic jams... those in VT bitch because they have some of the highest taxes in New England and is the hideaway for disgruntle NYers... Then VT has the most undistinguished US Senators on the planet: Bernie Sanders and his fake NY accent and turncoat Jeffords... Nice going VT... But we love the Bay Staters and their warped politics... we just wish they'd go back and leave us alone...

"Do nothing" - sounds great... (Below threshold)
MikeNC:

"Do nothing" - sounds great to me. President Calvin Coolidge was known as Silent Cal because he didn't do anything. He believed in small government and liberty and the roaring twenties were the result. Then along come the progressives, Hoover and Roosevelt, and gave us the Great Depression. I'll take do nothing any time.

Falze, why should touris... (Below threshold)

Falze, why should tourists being paying for the schools?

Because a big chunk of the state's business is tourism. If your state has a lot of car factories, then the car companies contribute taxes via their sales to local communities (like schools). In a state dependent on tourism it makes sense to contribute to their communities from tourists. It's not rocket science.

"Which means all of us tour... (Below threshold)
Greg:

"Which means all of us tourists don't contribute much of anything to your schools or upkeep and you get to pay it all in property taxes."

Snort. It is rocket science to you dummy.

"Snort"? Well, I can't com... (Below threshold)

"Snort"? Well, I can't compete with that kind of logic. Well, maybe if I put a plastic bag over my head for a few hours...

Anyway, those that don't think on a higher plane like "Snort" here, you probably recognize the typical mocking points of Nude Hampster by neighbors (which I was for 25 years). Maybe someday "Snort" will learn what a ;) means, too.

"Snort"? Seriously?

So... tourists spending mon... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So... tourists spending money provide jobs which would not be needed were it not for tourism...

So we end up with a Stat... (Below threshold)
Matt:

So we end up with a State House filled with housewives, retirees, independently wealthy folks, professionals, students, and the like -- all of whom don't need the money.

Jay, The above seems like a pretty good representation of what NH is. A state made up of all of the above.

Tourists spend money which provides income for businesses which then, I am sure, pay business taxes and likely exorbinant property taxes, and a slew of fees and taxes likely related to every part of their business. I am sure the state gets plenty off the toursists via rental car taxes, airport taxes, road tolls, hotel taxes etc. I am sure state and local governments make decent coin from traffic violations, parking meters, tickets etc as well as entrance fees to all those scenic vistas.

Falze has successfully mock... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Falze has successfully mocked the Granite Head State for their self-congratulation on avoiding consumption taxes. Good thing there is no support for that "Fair Tax" stuff among their . . . independent thinkers, lol.

Allow me to explain another facet of Humpshirite insanity. Hey, I'm all for freedom, including the right not to use a seat belt or a helmet - IF you "freedom-lovers" can assure me your families will pay for 100% of the costs of your care when you are severely injured due to your own negligence. BUT if any part of your life support bill is coming to me or my insurance company, your "right" has just intruded upon my most precious space, my wallet, then you need to just suck it up and put on the darn helmet, you big ugly tattooed freak.

So while all you New Hampshire half-wits are busy patting yourself on the back for all your "freedom fighting," occasionally try to recall that you ain't all that, mmmkay?

When reading this sort of Yankee masturbatory celebration, a fellow Southerner once pled, "How the hell did we lose to these guys?" I had to remind him there were just too many of them and they wouldn't stay home. It's even worse nowadays, since we opened Florida to them.

"Opinions and instructions ... (Below threshold)
ron:

"Opinions and instructions do not outmatch the Constitution," he said in his veto message, "Against it, they are void."

Calvin Coolige

Thought I would throw that in there.

I have to say that I never thought of New Hampshire in the lite of low payed legislature has not but moral issues to contend with. That being the morality of 'the government needs to stay out of the way of the people living thier lives'.

I can say that I have thought that Congressmen need to be practically voluntary. Problem with that is solved by the very demographics of small districs and a large numbers of representatives. Makes the logistics of a political machining untenable and expensive.

Interesting.

Sorry to disappoint the nan... (Below threshold)
Steve:

Sorry to disappoint the nanny staters, but tourists and tax dodgers pay into the general fund. NH has no sales or income tax, but does have a rooms and meals tax, gas tax, booze and tobacco taxes, and toll booths.

The property tax is the argument of uninformed outsiders. The taxes in NH are typically no higher than VT, ME or Mass for a like sized property. Also known as local control. The schools, police, municipalities in most of the state have to ask the voters for approval of their budgets at town meeting. If they get turned down, they go back to their default budget and do with less.

The state's biggest problem isn't gangs or houses burning to the ground as the outsiders would suggest "inferior" services leads to. It's idiot tourists getting lost in the woods, dying on the ski slopes and drowning in the lakes




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