The Shape Of Things To Come

As a lot of people noted gleefully, my own state of New Hampshire turned decidedly blue last election. The Democrats not only held the governorship (with my vote for Governor Lynch), they won both US House seats and picked up majorities on the Executive Council, the state Senate, and the state House. (I am convinced that the only reason both our US Senators are still Republicans is that neither Gregg nor Sununu were up for re-election in 2006.)

Well, how have things worked out since the Democrats took the reins of power?

One of the hallmarks of New Hampshire politics has been a staunch anti-tax platform. We are the only state with neither a sales nor an income tax, and most of us like that.

But that could be coming to an end.

There’s a group of people pushing to rework the state’s tax structure. The Boston Globe is lauding them, pointing out that the state has a $50 million deficit in the first year of our two-year budget. Obviously, something has to be done, and these people say that raising taxes is the solution.

I find myself wondering what the hell happened. Astonishingly, the Boston Globe answers that question. But they have to bury the info, lest too many people manage to put two and two together and come up with “Democrats.”

Way, way down in the 12th paragraph, the Globe realizes it can’t cover up the essential facts any longer:

The debate over taxes is the latest sign of political change in New England’s most conservative state, where Democrats currently control both houses of the Legislature, and Lynch, a Democrat, is in his second term. Last year, some conservatives cringed as lawmakers approved a 17 percent state budget increase. Others marveled at the state’s adoption of civil unions for same-sex couples.

That’s right. Feeling their oats, the Democrats jacked up the state budget 17% (I’ve read it as 17.5% in other places, places I trust more than the Boston Globe, but even 17% is bad enough) in a single year.

After years and years and years of getting hammered as “tax and spenders” and derided and mocked and run down, the Democrats finally got swept into office in 2006. And as soon as they did, they spent the hell out of the state’s coffers, and now need to jack up taxes to pay for it all.

This is “change,” all right.

I’ve always thought that New Hampshire should serve as a model for the rest of the nation in so many ways. For once, I’m thinking we can serve not as an inspiration, but a warning.

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