In this year’s governor’s race, I am endorsing Jackie, and writing to ask that you consider supporting her too.
It has been a difficult year and a half for New Hampshire. The legislature sent a wrecking ball through institutions and values that we hold dear when it cut general fund spending by 12%. Higher education, hospitals, care for children in crisis, mental health care–the list goes on and on and on. Name anything a vibrant economy and healthy society stands on, and it was cut.
You might think the blame lies only with the Tea Party, but you would be wrong. Republicans? Wrong again. The culprit in this tale of woe is Pledge politics.
Too many politicians are unwilling to talk about revenue. Voters at the local level act like grownups. Sometimes they vote to increase their taxes to pay for a new fire engine, a teacher contract, or a needed road project. Politicians in Concord take pledges. They claim our tax structure is a given, and that we can only spend what our current mix of taxes brings in.
The trend at the state level is not just discouraging, it’s positively frightening. We have a tax structure that does not grow with the economy, so government programs cannot keep pace with inflation and population growth. In the ten years from 2001 to 2011, the total income of the people of New Hampshire grew by 38%, while the state’s general fund budget grew only 20%–lower than the rate of inflation.
Over the past thirty years, through administrations both Republican and Democratic, Pledge politics has been ratcheting down the state budget, to the detriment of the people of New Hampshire and its property taxpayers. Our state parks have deteriorated. Our community mental health centers, which were a model for the rest of the nation, have been gutted. State aid to higher education is the lowest in the nation, and our college students graduate with the highest student loan debt in the nation. State aid to local government has been cut, and cut again, shifting the tax burden onto the property tax. In 1999, property taxes made up 59% of all state and local taxes in New Hampshire. In 2011, it was 66%. In those twelve years, the total property tax bill in New Hampshire doubled.
There are two fine women Democrats, both veteran legislators, who are running for Governor this year: Maggie Hassan of Exeter and Jackie Cilley of Barrington. Maggie Hassan has taken the Pledge against any broad-based sales or income tax. Jackie Cilley has not. And that makes all the difference. Visit www.pledgezombies.com to see Jackie’s first ad on this subject.
Jackie Cilley is willing to have an open, honest conversation with the people about all options to fund our priorities. Maggie Hassan is not willing to do that. In fact, Maggie recently told a voter she would not even support a review of our current revenue system.
Maggie Hassan has been honest in saying that this is a tactical decision, that New Hampshire is not ready to have a conversation about taxes. But if she is elected, she will be a Democrat in a Republican box. On vital issues of taxes and spending, she will have conceded to the Republicans before the legislature is even seated.
We have the third-highest property taxes in the nation. Our state and local tax burden on retired homeowners is the highest in the nation. Our state and local tax burden on the top 1% is the fifth-lowest in the nation. If someone comes up with a plan to cut homeowners’ property taxes, restore funding to education and human services, bring in millions of dollars from out-of-staters, and make our tax system more equitable, should we consider such a plan? Jackie Cilley says YES and Maggie Hassan says NO.
This election is not just about property taxes and the state
budget. Jackie will work to defend a woman’s right to choose, marriage equality, and public education. She will uphold regulations that protect our environment and consumers.
If you would like to help Jackie Cilley’s campaign, please do one or more of the following:
• Make a donation, of any amount, at www.jackiecilley.com
• Volunteer to make phone calls, or for a road sign or a bumper sticker by visiting www.jackiecilley.com
• Forward this email to everyone you know in New Hampshire
and urge them to vote for Jackie Cilley on September 11.