Before the last election, I wrote a letter giving reasons why I was voting for state Democrats.
I listed the amazing national rankings New Hampshire had received under the previous four years of a Democratic legislature and before that when we had a legislature of moderate Republicans and Democrats who worked together – no ideology, no promises to follow a pre-determined legislative agenda regardless of what is best for New Hampshire, and no pledges to ignore senior legislators, state agencies, and those testifying in opposition to the ideology.
The previous Democratic legislature obtained as much federal stimulus money as possible to provide jobs, help schools, and offset state dollars, so in 2010 we had the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the country, and minimum cuts were made to services. These were one-time funds.
In the world of politics, not only are the Democrats accused of increasing spending by 24% (22% of which was the stimulus money), but the current legislature claimed the loss of the one-time stimulus money as part of their budget cuts. See a sampling below of cuts, and remember: when you cut preventive services, you pay much more later to deal with the consequences.
- $115 million cut from hospitals, forcing over 1,000 layoffs and an on-going lawsuit
- 50% cut to University of New Hampshire, resulting in layoffs and higher tuition
- Catastrophic illness program repealed
- Funds removed from two programs that helped keep seniors at home and out of nursing care.
- Closed over a thousand public assistance families who received SSI disability payments and terminated the program that helped two-parent families. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families is an employment-support program where people receive education and job training specific to New Hampshire employer needs, so they could get jobs that moved them off assistance. This change removed the state/federal assistance, ended employment supports, and put the responsibility to cover any basic needs on towns and cities using property tax dollars.
- All this while decreasing cigarette taxes (losing $20+ million in revenue) and lowering things like the marriage license fee, which was used to provide mediation in divorces.
When there is no sales or income tax, the only other way to meet the needs of a growing population (especially in a recession) is to increase fees and surcharges. Whoever needs or causes the additional spending gets to pay an increased fee. This has been done for many decades.
One of the items fact-checked on Politifact (TinyURL.com/d7vt7q4) was an ad stating “New Hampshire Democrats $1 Billion Deficit; New Hampshire Republicans Under Bill O’Brien Balanced Budget.” Politifact’s conclusion: “The Republican group’s sign is twisting the reality of the state budgets for partisan reasons and leaving people with a false impression. We rate it False.”
Now for a few comparisons of national rankings:
- Best managed state: 8th best in 2010, down to 13th best in 2012
- Unemployment rate (September): 4th lowest, down to 9th lowest
- Taxes (1 is highest): 50th, steady at 50th
The current legislature has voted based on ideology rather than the needs of New Hampshire citizens. The two candidates (Coffey and Youseff) endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus are not the Republicans of days past.
On a national level, the Republican Party vowed at week one of the Obama administration that their primary goal was to make Obama fail and become a one-term president. With all of the problems facing Americans, they put party before people.
The Republican Party blocked legislation to eliminate $20 billion dollars in oil company subsidies; legislation to eliminate NASCAR subsidies while promoting cuts to low income families; legislation to increase jobs; and legislation to reward companies for bringing jobs back to the US, all while focusing on social issues that serve only to restrict freedom.
Even with the Republican blocking in full force, the Obama administration was able to accomplish a lot. Go to TinyURL.com/7xpxkge for a list of the top 50 things.
I will vote for Democrats to ensure a party that puts people first and a Congress that compromises for the good of the country rather than one whose hands are tied with pledges to Grover Norquist.