It Has To Be Maggie Hassan For Governor

I’m voting for Maggie Hassan for Governor in the Democratic primary, and I would like to explain why. Since my own exploration to choose between Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley was lengthy and, I think, thoughtful and patient , like many of us who are “choosing a side” this year I can’t express it all in one writing.

So here I’ll outline why I choose Maggie, and in follow-up posts over the next week or two I’ll delve into core reasons for my choice.  I'll also offer my observations about why I think she is best positioned on the issue of tax-and-spend in November. 

And I will offer why I think Maggie was our Most Valuable Player in the State Senate in 2009 in winning the battle for gay marriage — which, in my opinion, is one of the best things Democrats have done in recent years in the continuing fight for human equality, and which, I believe, helped move President Barack Obama to join the cause. More on those topics later, for your consideration.

Finally, I'll summarize her tremendous, timely, and vital leadership on the issues that haven't received all that much attention — her work on healthcare and campaign finance disclosure, as well as her important help in 2005 in keeping the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard open, which greatly affected keeping jobs and developing our economy locally and statewide.

There’s a lot to talk about because Maggie Hassan has depth of experience and involvement, and has been intimately active on a whole range of issues. And while I have had my disagreements with her — vigorous at times — I have great respect for her.  Sometimes, those disagreements that don't permanently divide us make us stronger together.  That's a lesson I hope we come away with from our September 11 Primary.

First for this posting, a mention about her opponents. Jackie Cilley is fantastic, and would make a great Governor. I just don’t think that her campaign has positioned her well on the tax issue. People don’t like taxes. President Obama gets that, and his message is not so subtle: tax the millionaires (the minority among us) and reduce taxes for the rest of us. So, my decision not to support Jackie this year isn’t about her — it’s about her campaign strategy. We cannot let the Republicans win, and to beat Ovide Lamontange we need a smart campaign strategy.

Polls show New Hampshire voters oppose income and sales taxes. Past elections show New Hampshire voters oppose income and sales taxes. I support an income tax based on ability to pay, dedicated solely to education, and I took that position in 1982 while running for re-election to the State Senate. In those 40 years, we’ve had that discussion. It hasn’t happened. It won’t happen in the next two years. It just won’t.

Wishing it won’t do the job.

And “talking” about it makes it difficult for us to be heard on other vital issues, and between today and November 6th, we have only 75 days to talk about everything, and to win. With voters’ focus on their own lives, the weather, keeping or getting a job, paying the price of gasoline, sending kids back to school, then watching the national campaigns and choosing a President, we don’t have enough time in 75 days x 24 hours = 1,800 hours to change minds and hearts on taxing them more and/or explaining that maybe property taxes go down in the meantime or that we can build more roads and bridges with more of their money to the state.

So, we risk losing so much by making “The Pledge” or “Zombies” or taxes the prime issue. It has to be about everything else, and Maggie Hassan is positioned to offset Ovide Lamontagne on taxes much more than our other two choices.

In 2002, been there, done that. I was very involved in that race, having laid out the initial strategy over the course of several months for a long-time friend, Jim Normand. I had run his successful Governor’s Council campaign in 1996, and returned in 2001 as he was considering a gubernatorial run. Mark Fernald was running, as was Bev Hollingworth, two also excellent choices, and by the spring of 2002 Jim decided he had other priorities in his life so didn’t continue his exploration.

Democrats choose Mark, who was — and is — eloquent in his progressive advocacy, but the election was about taxes. Mark was outspent 20 to 1 by the Multi-Million Dollar Man and we suffered through two years of Craig Benson. Mark couldn’t talk about anything else other than taxes, because he was Tax Man. He was. Unfortunately, he was. He would have been a great Governor, but he couldn’t be heard beyond the “tax me more” message and image.

People don’t like taxes, and in a Presidential election where the focus will be on national issues, having a campaign saying we should “discuss taxes” isn’t going to cut it. It just isn’t. And even if it did, it gets us no where if the Republicans win the House and Senate.

About Bill Kennedy, I’m impressed with him, but not his campaign strategy. He is openly supporting an income tax but he’s so vague about it that even income tax supporters can’t get enthused about him. Mark Fernald had a specific plan and got bogged down in the details — it would take him half an hour to explain the details, then get to questions.  But being non-specific is also a problem.

Bill Kennedy is more generic and says he wants a tax of “about 4 to 5 percent” with incomes of “$35,000 to $40,000 excluded,” but he says he wouldn’t support it if the income tax doesn’t proportionally “reduce property taxes.” It’s hard to craft something like that, and it’s clear he hasn’t analyzed his proposal. So, while I’m impressed with him, his campaign strategy has put him in a bind that will haunt him if he ever runs again. Good try, and he looks relaxed and like he’s having fun on the campaign trail, but he can’t win in November.

Now, about Maggie Hassan. She has an interesting personal story to tell, which she tells often and with passion, about democracy and advocacy, and I get it. It refers to her son, who has some challenges. She explains that it’s the advocacy of many New Hampshire citizens of long ago — actually, not too long ago because we’re talking about the 1970s and 80s, who took on the issue of institutionalization of our mentally and developmentally challenged citizens.

It used to be that Laconia State School and the Concord State Hospital were places to hide those who were considered uneducable. They were put away, often at very young ages, for life. Hidden. Given basic services — only very basic — and those of us in the Legislature in the early 1970s who took tours of those facilities were horrified by the conditions.

Many people advocated to end that. Governor Hugh Gallen, Chris Spriou, and other Democrats of that era led the fight. They got the state to spend the money needed to find alternatives for our challenged citizens in communities and in homes, and that’s what we do now. They live with us. They work among us. They’re just like us, only with challenges. And in one way or another, each of us have challenges, so we're all the same.

Nationally, the movement to end institutionalization was a bit ahead of us, with efforts by John F. Kennedy and his sister Eunice. They teamed up with Sargent Shriver to create Special Olympics. “Mainsteaming” replaced institutionalization. 

I saw the Mainstreaming concept first-hand, with my four years of employment at Great Bay School and Training Center in Newington in the early 1970s after receiving my teaching certificate from UNH, and another four years with N.H. Special Olympics as public relations and outreach director. I went to the National Special Olympics Games in Lake Tahoe where thousands of Americans who once were institutionalized played incredible sports. I was jealous of what they could do!

So, when Maggie talks about her son, I get it. I understand the advocacy she refers to, and she uses that issue to remind all of us of the causes yet to be fought: on equality, on choice, on issues of working women and men.  That if we don’t use democracy to advocate, then what is the sense of having the vote and our voice anyway?

And yes, that advocacy is important on tax reform too, but that discussion goes on by having a candidate heading our ticket who will also talk about all those priorities, and will be heard on them and not be drowned out by the “tax” issue this year.  Too much is at stake. Let's remember 2010.  We're still in rebound-mode in 2012 

There is much more to my decision to choose Maggie Hassan, but I first wanted to offer this personal view. This is a very quality person, who has done much and can do much more — for all of us. We need her as Governor.

And her personal story is one I want to see told through November 6th with Maggie Hassan as our candidate, and through the next two or four or six or more years with her as Governor of the State of New Hampshire.

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48 Responses to It Has To Be Maggie Hassan For Governor

  1. Kathy Sullivan 2 August 22, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    This is an incredibly thoughtful piece.

    Thank you.

  2. JonnyBBad August 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm #
  3. GreyMike August 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Very helpful to me, and anyone else who may be as on the fence as I am. Much obliged.

    • Chaz Proulx August 23, 2012 at 1:36 am #

      Keep doing your homework buddy. Then join Maggie’s team!

      ( also check my facebook page. I took part in a musical reunion in Burlington Vermont Sat Night–400 people came out to celebrate the Vermont scene of 30 years ago)

      C’mon board. We can play a fundraiser together!

  4. xteeth August 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Part one, personal appeal – I ask you to accept my recommendation because of who I am, what I have done, what I know. Nice guy, been around for a while, that’s fine.

    Part two: Maggie got gay marriage passed as she was head of the Senate when this occurred. Here I think that Jim’s opinions should be examined in full. It is my memory that there were in fact five supremely Democratic things passed by the house in that biennium – gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, seat belts, repeal of the death penalty, medical marijuana. Four of these died in the Senate under Maggie’s control (it is not fair to claim control in one area and not accept blame in others). I also seem to remember that both Jim and Maggie wanted not the full blown gay marriage that so many of the gay community wanted, but the lesser civil unions. As I remember that argument was the same as the one here and yet we have it here lauded as the accomplishment of the desired result. Too much, too fast. As has been said over and over, if not now when. All of the signature accomplishments of Democrats – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Voter’s Rights, Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage and on and on through the Roosevelt stuff from the Depression, all of those things came to these points over and over and over and over. I’ll bet Jim didn’t want to wait for this issue to be resolved. Paying for keeping our state up is the same kind of issue for many of us. Diddling around the issue with fees, tobacco taxes, a little thing here, a little thing there will not cut this particular mustard. Years of failing to pay for services used, have dug a huge hole for us. Just think about the unfunded pension liability. On the positive side of solving this now, we are now paying the lowest taxes of any Americans back as far as Truman. New Hampshire is among the states with the lowest tax burdens for citizens in even this time of low taxes.

    Part three: Maggie has a disadvantaged child and this gives her personal involvement and knowledge about this issue. Two things about this issue. First for many, the turning out of mental patients from public hospitals will forever be associated with Ronald Reagan. Research on this subject will show various opinions about whether the main motivational feature of this event was mainly the desire to eliminate government expense. Second, the human rights issues of the ACLU about all the people incarcerated (in effect) for years without adequate assessment or consideration of other treatment options. Probably both were involved. The first – cut the size of government, echoes loudly in our local complaint about the cost of mainstreaming students. The requirements for teacher’s aids and special transportation accommodation come from the same lack of kindness as did the closing of many hospitals where long term care was provided for some of those that are currently living under bridges.
     It also seems to me that if one is going to accept the strength of this argument from personal experience then you give up the right to deny the same kind of argument with regard to Maggie’s experience of not paying property tax and having personal experience of a high income. As I have said other places, these are all just facts, the thing to which one might object is the insinuation not the fact.

    Part four: Argument from the history of the income tax in New Hampshire. Folded in here is the fear of disaster if Republicants are elected. On the one hand the experience here has not been reinforced by winning in these situations. On the other is the fact that we try to be progressives. Progressives go forward – To go forward you put the car in “D,” to go backward, you put the car in “R”. There seems to be no “I” involved. Are we so fearful of defeat that we will give up on making progress. Maybe so even though several times Jim states that he is in favor of an income tax, has worked for and income tax, otherwise supports people who are the essence of tax solutions for New Hampshire – Fernald, McEachern, Jim Normand, Hollingsworth and now Cilley and Kennedy. And then there are all the buts.

    I don’t like buts. They go on forever. A positive campaign is based upon progress in every possible area. There is no need to give up on any of the five things that our one Democratic House since the Civil War passed. The arguments were the same about them then. I submit that this amounts to us doing the Republicant’s work for them. I have enough work on our side without doing theirs.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2 August 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

      Jim Splaine introduced the marriage equality bill, against the wishes of a lot of people who were afraid it was too soon after the civil unions bill. He was like the energizer bunny on it. Getting that one wrong really undermines the rest of your post.

      I also think you would be well served to look up the actual votes on these bills you mention. I’m going to look at them all when I have time, because I like to know what the facts are before spouting off. But I do know that in 2009 Jackie Cilley voted to table the death penalty bill (hb556), along with every other Democrat with the exception of Betsi deVries. Governor Lynch was going to veto it.

      As for the seat belt bill, funny thing. 10 Democrats voted to amend the bill in an effort to reach a compromise so the bill would pass; Jackie Cilley voted with the Republicans to shoot the amendment down. She then voted to table with the rest of the Democrats.


      • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 1:14 am #

        but you might consider that I have my own views on stuff here and elsewhere. I don’t take other people’s pledges whether they are Republican or Democratic. Undermine away. I am not on any committee and rarely see anything other than the result as is the case and criticism of “field workers” everywhere. What I said occurred, actually did occur. I am one of those silly pragmatists that don’t care how Shaheen shot down the income tax after it was approved by both Republican controlled houses, either. I don’t care about Reynolds changing her mind about gay marriage at the last minute either. These are all Democratic principle things in my view though I am just one of those poor outside the beltway Democrats. The sleazy ways that things are done to avoid responsibility interests me not in the least. If one is to take credit for the good things, one must also take approbation for the bad. Who might have vetoed stuff or threatened to do so so as to influence votes is all cut from the same cloth.

        • Kathy Sullivan 2 August 23, 2012 at 1:50 am #

          What I said occurred, actually did occur.

          No, it didn’t occur. Jim Splaine was the sponsor of the marriage equality bill. This isn’t a case of your not being “on any committee and rarely see anything other than the result as is the case and criticism of “field workers” everywhere.”

          No, you do not get away with that – especially when I know you read at least one of Jim Splaine’s 2009 diaries supporting marriage equality because you commented on it (see link below).

          Jim was a hero on this bill. Don’t you dare try to take that away from him, and then try to avoid responsibility by saying, oh, what do I know, I wasn’t on any committee.

          The right thing to do would be to admit you were wrong, suffereing from faulty memory. But instead you try to excuse yourself by saying oh, I’m just a field worker, I only see the final result? Give me a break – a big one. Because in this case, that is just not true, you were following the bill:


          • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 3:04 am #

            It is much the same argument that I dislike here. Like I said, I wasn’t in the committee I was in the field. I am sure some of the stuff we were told was incorrect but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t passed around. Neither does it prove that it was false. It appears that stuff gets done with people voting against what they would prefer and withholding votes when something is added that violates some other thing. Just look at what Jim says he is willing to do now for “other reasons.” He says he is in favor of the income tax. QED It is one of the horrors of our state and this process that this maneuvering occurs somewhere where the rest of us just can’t see it. Notice that pretty much every year there is a stink at the state convention about bringing stuff up from the floor. Or read on the Facebook blogs about the diffuse feeling that the NHDP doesn’t listen to the Democrats of New Hampshire. Or, perhaps, as seems to be your theory, we are all just nuts out here and don’t salute when you run something up the flag pole. Got that one right at least.
            Now about this “Snap” thing. Yo dogg that just doesn’t hunt. Sorry, not my lingo don’t you know. Being the cool one in on the know is another thing that I don’t find attractive. These are positions and arguments to support them. I don’t have a little black grade book and don’t really care about yours.  

            • Dartmouth Dem August 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

              Now about this “Snap” thing. Yo dogg that just doesn’t hunt. Sorry, not my lingo don’t you know. Being the cool one in on the know is another thing that I don’t find attractive. These are positions and arguments to support them. I don’t have a little black grade book and don’t really care about yours.  

              I love Kathy, but if she’s the hipster in this community, then we’re all a bunch of nerds.

              • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

                Whatever that means.

                • Dartmouth Dem August 24, 2012 at 1:10 am #

                  Glad everyone is united in their support of Rice Krispies, if not the gubernatorial debate…. Perhaps I can pull together a Katrina Swett diary to bring everyone together again? Katrina is busy with religious freedom and related human rights advocacy, so she won’t mind, I’m sure.

                  I’m going to get back to my analysis of 2nd CD voting trends, while listening to Snoopy Doggy Doggy (really big with the kids).

              • JonnyBBad August 24, 2012 at 12:28 am #
              • Judy Reardon August 24, 2012 at 12:58 am #

                DD, even if Kathy is not the hipster in this community, we are all a bunch of nerds.

                • Dartmouth Dem August 24, 2012 at 1:05 am #
                  • Rep. Jim Splaine August 24, 2012 at 1:25 am #

                    …I didn’t like.  

                    • Ray Buckley August 24, 2012 at 2:11 am #
                    • Rep. Jim Splaine August 24, 2012 at 2:15 am #

                      …or a Republican one?  Certainly not a Democratic one!!!???  Democratic nerds rock!

                    • Ray Buckley August 24, 2012 at 2:41 am #

                      He is a relative by marriage. Literally wears a pocket protector, high water paints and yes…tape on his glasses. You would not believe the stuff that he says, he once argued that the confederate flag was not offensive to African Americans. Oh, by the way…he was born in Texas.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2 August 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      On HB 415, the bill against transgender discrimination (it was not a “transgender bathroom” bill, as you call it),  Jackie Cilley joined with all of her 23 senate  colleagues to vote the bill inexpediate to legislate.

      On HB 648, medical marijuana, both Jackie and Maggie voted for the bill, which passed; they both voted to override the governor’s veto.

      Blaming Maggie for a 24-0 vote, or for the failure to override a governor’s veto, is a bit much.

      • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 1:24 am #

        You see, or rather don’t see, I don’t care and have no knowledge of the ins and outs of these votes. People are intimidated, as they are now with the Republican pledge, and I don’t like it. I blame for those things where I see responsibility. The Republicants called the transgender bill the bathroom bill as you might remember. But for all means resort to pickeyness. The medical marijuana bill did fail, I think you remember and as much as you would like to get me to do anything to perfectly align my interests with others, it just hasn’t happened. I have said a couple of times that I think the payday loan thing is beyond my understanding as well as beyond the understanding of others who are relatively rich. I don’t make decisions about women’s bodies and gay people for the same reason. I have opinions, as do we all, but if there is no reason to think mine outweigh yours, have at it. Many of those non-personal opinions are, in my view, conditioned by the person’s upbringing and are the very seat of bigotry.  

    • Chaz Proulx August 23, 2012 at 2:04 am #

      really long

      • Chaz Proulx August 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm #
        • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

          Besides I don’t think you have done anything wrong except being hypersensitive – assuming that Crow with salt is something that you don’t like.

          • Chaz Proulx August 24, 2012 at 3:10 am #
    • Rep. Jim Splaine August 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      I had a long day of work on my feet under the sun yesterday and didn’t get back until close to Midnight, so I didn’t respond yesterday to your observations.  And since my posting is about Maggie Hassan, I don’t see any need to “defend” myself.  So I’ll just review a little history of the past few years on the gay marriage cause, which Kathy has done quite well in her comments.

      The Civil Unions bill of 2007 (House Bill 437) laid groundwork for the gay marriage bill (House Bill 436) of 2009.  I was primary sponsor of both.  

      Civil Unions was indeed supported by much of the gay community — though not all — in 2007 because it was viewed as an important step.  It wasn’t easy.  It faced many votes, much opposition, and thanks to good people like Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley it passed the Senate after a long battle getting it through the House.

      Most Democrats in the Legislature supported it; most Republicans opposed.  

      By the way, the cosponsor of Civil Unions with me, then-Rep. Dana Hilliard of Somersworth, was key to its introduction. Dana and I talked about doing it in May of 2006 one day while we were chatting standing in a corner of the House Chamber listening to some long-forgotten debate on a crazy right-winger bill.  We knew it wasn’t top on the agenda of our colleagues or the Governor’s office, but felt the discussion needed to be started.

      No one — nor any organization or group — asked us to do it.  We just felt the discussion had to be started, and we knew we’d face opposition among our friends as well as opponents, but it was a risk worth taking.  

      Without Dana, I wouldn’t have introduced it, and without Dana, I don’t think we would have laid the ground for the “upgrade” we did two years later.  In a way, he “threw the snowball” that started the legislative discussions for Civil Unions and eventually gay marriage.  To me, he’s one of my many heroes on this cause.

      The day Governor John Lynch signed Civil Unions in May, 2007 — after a very long battle — I said publicly that if I was returned to the House the next year I’d introduce gay marriage to replace Civil Unions.  

      I repeated that at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2008 at the State House when we gathered on a snowy, freezing night on the State House steps, with fireworks in the background, celebrating the state’s first unions.  

      So those who said (mostly the right-wingers) that my introduction of House Bill 436 later in 2008 was a “surprise” are unfounded. They had plenty of notice that it was a-coming.

      Beginning on February 5, 2009, the debate for gay marriage formally began in the House.  It took over 20 roll call votes and over a dozen hours of floor debate over the next four months before both the House and Senate approved it, with thousands of our supporters — and opponents — going to public hearings and contacting legislators on the issue.  

      After we passed it, Governor John Lynch took another three weeks to decide whether he would sign it.  He did, and we have it.  All the history can be reviewed by visiting the NH State Government WEBSITE and checking out HB 437 of 2007 and HB 436 of 2009.  It’s all there.  

      And can be researched — use my page as a reference if you wish — and you’ll see hundreds — HUNDREDS — of posts and perhaps thousands of comments on the issue in 2007 and 2009.  Hamsters played a vital role in pushing Civil Unions and gay marriage at a time some of our political leaders would have rather ducked a bit.  

      The “step process” of Civil Unions, then gay marriage, worked.  I make no apology for taking first one step, then another, though some people are still upset with me that I forced the issue.  

      I think it was, and is, important.  Budgets are important too.  Tax reform is too.  So many other priorities are out there as well.  But equality and the way we treat one another are, I think, the most important thing of all.

      On getting to gay marriage, we were patient, but persistent.  And yes, as Kathy says, a lot of people didn’t want to see the debate be waged, but thanks to many of our leaders — sometimes a bit reluctant perhaps — we did it.

      Both Maggie and Jackie share in that success.  We wouldn’t have done it without them both. (Our earliest Senate supporters, Harold Janeway, Bette Lasky, and Martha Fuller Clark, were very important too.)  

      I call Maggie our “Most Valuable Player” in the Senate on our success of HB 436 in 2009 because of several other factors, which I’ll explain in more detail later.  She helped pull together the details and consensus needed to get to “yes” when we hit some walls.  But in no way does my crediting her with the central role lessen the importance of Jackie and many others.  We got to where we are because of lots of hard work, risk-taking, and good people finding a “make it work” approach.

      • xteeth August 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

        So what is the step process for the income tax? I just don’t see it. Either you have one or you don’t. But in any event it is the case that in the gay marriage fight, as I remember there was this argument that it was just too impossible to go for the whole thing at once. So here we sit at the base of the huge step which we all seem to agree is necessary or desirable at some point but we mustn’t lift our foot at this point. And that is exactly the point at which we should be lifting the foot. Temporizing and mediating are all fine but this has to be done and putting it off is just exactly that.

        • JonnyBBad August 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

          In a perfect alignment of the stars, a Constitutional Amendment is the way to go.
          We cannot, under our State’s Constitution, enact a Progressive Income Tax. Without an Amendment therefore only flat, regressive income taxes would be legal. Without an amendment, we can try to do what Hager-Below did, providing a tax formula with circuit breakers on income and property values. Otherwise, and I think this is the case, an Amendment which creates a Progressive Income Tax dedicated to Education is the way to go.(Like our Gasoline Tax is dedicated to roads) This is my opinion, in theory.

          • xteeth August 26, 2012 at 3:27 am #

            Let’s hypothesize that there were such an amendment. How would you expect a governor to behave in front of and behind the curtain who had taken the pledge to veto any such broad based tax? Seems like a serious impediment to me. Remember how without actually vetoing anything (I think) the income tax failed under Shaheen and seat belts, death penalty, transgender equality and medical marijuana went down the tubes. That is why I am uncomfortable arguing these things with KS as the vote count doesn’t necessarily coincide with the maneuvering behind the curtain. I think that the gist is correct, but your opinion and memory may differ.  

      • TimothyHorrigan August 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

        Rep. Splaine and I were also amongst the crowd who gathered in front of the State House on January 1, 2010 to celebrate the state’s first same-gender marriages.  It wasn’t particularly cold, although it was a little below freezing, but there was some snow.

  5. Chaz Proulx August 23, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Either way I would have respected your opinion.

    But I have to admit I’m feeling a little lighter than I was last week.

    Maybe that’s because you are now going to get picked apart.

    I’ve had a target on my back so long it’s a pleasure to see a few arrows go elsewhere.

  6. Putney Swope August 23, 2012 at 6:34 am #
  7. Lucy Weber August 23, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    I agree with Jim’s points about the income tax conversation, its history and the potential effects on the upcoming election, and spoke about them in an earlier diary.  I particularly appreciate Jim’s wealth of historical perspective.

    In addition to the potential effects on the election, I think we must also be very wary of making this election all about the income tax issue because of the presence on the ballot of CACR 13, which would put a constitutional ban on an income tax.  Now that would bring the conversation to a screeching halt.  By having a Democratic candidate on the ballot who is highlighting that conversation, even though an overwhelming majority of NH citizens do not favor an income tax, we risk energising people to go to the polls and prohibit any further discussion of an income tax, ever.

    I will just add that I am looking forward to Jim’s comments about Maggie’s involvement and qualifications in other areas, because those are all equally important, especially when the two major candidates actually share so much in common.

    • susanthe August 23, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      In other words, a candidate who took the pledge is in a good place to argue against CACR 13?

      She’ll be viewed and portrayed as the ultimate hypocrite.

      • Lucy Weber August 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

        You are confusing support for an income tax with support for a constitutional amendment barring an income tax.  I said nothing in my comment about what Maggie might argue or not argue.  I was commenting on the possible reaction of the electorate to a Jackie win in the primary.

        My concern is that the more possible the enactment of an income tax sounds, and I use that word deliberately because I have said here a number of times that I believe there is zero chance of an income tax being enacted in the next biennium, the more likely anti-tax voters are to vote for CACR 13.  That does not constitute hypocrisy.

        There are voters out there who oppose an income tax, but who also get it that tax policy does not belong in our constitution.  We need to hope there are a lot of those out there, because the number I last heard was that 70% of voters currently oppose an income tax.  Don’t ask me for cites–I am disclosing up front that number is hearsay to me, although I heard it from a source I consider to be reliable.  But if 70% is correct, and all 70% vote in favor of CACR 13, the income tax discussion is over.  Period.

        Anything that makes those folks who are anti income tax more comfortable voting “no” on CACR 13 is a good thing, in my view.  And calling those who oppose an income tax but who also oppose CACR 13 hypocrites is another of those actions that may drive more people to vote in favor of an exceedingly dangerous constitutional amendment.

        If Jackie wins the primary, and CACR 13 passes in November, you have won the battle but lost the war.

        • Lucy Weber August 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

          You are confusing support for or opposition to an income tax with support for or opposition to a constitutional amendment barring an income tax.

          The two propositions are very different, and it is possible to oppose both an income tax and CACR 13 without being a hypocrite.

        • PeadarS August 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

  8. JonnyBBad August 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    the gracious manner in which you treated Maggie’s efforts on disclosure.

    • Rep. Jim Splaine August 24, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      I’ll offer more about Maggie’s work on campaign funding disclosure later, but I’ll mention here that while I did disgree with some of the details of legislation she tried to pass, that she took leadership on that issue, and will continue to, tells me a lot about her character and commitment to government ethics.

      She didn’t duck it — she took it on head-on.  If we had had just another couple of weeks to be able to work on a good bill before we had to vote “up” or “down,” we might have done more about corporate contributions.  The real problem at that time was the parliamentary situation, deadlines, and that it was at the end of a legislative session year.  

      Jackie deserves credit, too, along with Bette Lasky — and in the House, Jane Clemons, David Pierce, and Ed Butler among others — for getting into the issues of campaign finance disclosure and corporate limitations.  On this issue, Democrats glow.  Granny D. would be proud of us.  

  9. BradleyJardis August 25, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Maggie is definitely a very polite and respectful person.  If the Democratic party wins the election this year, I’d be decently pleased if she won. (I do believe my father is a supporter of hers.)

    When I used to go to Planet Fitness in Portsmouth I spoke with her about my wish to see 627:4 changed like it was last year.  Although she flatly disagreed with my arguments, I felt she listened and gave me a fair shot to argue my position.

    To me, that earned my respect, knowing that her politics were completely different from mine.

    If a Democrat wins this year, I hope it’s her.

    • Chaz Proulx August 25, 2012 at 3:45 am #

      The Maggie you describe is the Maggie I know.

      First and foremost I support her because of who she is.

  10. Socialist August 25, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Sure Maggie Hassan is a nice person but she, as many others before, has pandered to the wealthy right wing demagogues in taking the onerous pledge.

    Let us not forget that when the House and Senate both passed an income tax bill Gov. Shaheen hid behind her pledge to veto this fair tax.

    My point being that if you govern by pandering to demagogues you are not going to listen to the people you are, rather, going to cut off one avenue for balancing the state budget and going to, in Shaheen’s case, deny the people of this state a fair and balanced tax system.

    Remember the pledge is to not have an income tax the pledge is not taken with the idea of removing or denying any services. Apparently the rightwing still likes having police, fire, schools, roads etc but would prefer only the not-so-rich pay for them.

    Me, I am voting for Cilley.  She did not take the pledge, is very strong on the matter of Choice and is also a very nice person.

    • Lucy Weber August 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      …those of us who actually listen to “the people” hear an awful lot of them say they do not want an income tax.

      • hannah August 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

        and time wasted on providing information that only satisfies the data hoarders.  While sales taxes collected with every purchase also potentially waste time, automated systems now make it possible to calculate rapidly and fairly.  Merchants, who actually keep the cash for a time as a float, may not consider having to turn over revenues on a regular basis desirable, since it opens them up to being inspected for their compliance with other commercial regulations on wages and hours, etc.

        Anyway, Maggie Hassan’s argument that she should be elected to protect us from the Tea Party and because she was in charge of the Senate the year before Republicans became ascendant has not been convincing.  She really seems to have no awareness that executing is different from legislating.
        Republican legislators like the governor as leader or theme-setter meme ’cause that lets them deny their own responsibility for legislating and managing public resources, rather than members of the public.

        • TimothyHorrigan August 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

          Everyone in NH already has to pay the federal income tax (aside from a few people with no income.)  So it would be simple enough to levy a tax based on what’s already on people’s 1040’s.

          • pberch August 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

            It is my understanding (see Jon, above) that the NH Consitutiton bars a progressive income tax. So piggybacking a state income tax on the Federal, as is done in Vermont, would seem to be in violation of the State Constitution. That is what  folks who know more about this subject than I do tell me.  

            • TimothyHorrigan August 27, 2012 at 3:15 am #

              This has never been tested, since no income tax bill has ever passed and been signed into law.  A flat tax applied to the gross or net income would, I believe, pass constitutional muster.  I do agree that Vermont’s approach wouldn’t fly.  

    • Judy Reardon August 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Some elected officials believe in keeping their word.

      Disclosure – I am a member of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s staff.

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