Jackie Cilley for Governor

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.

Mark Fernald
Sharon
mark@markfernald.com

  • StraffordDem

    I would add to the list of destructive budget cuts the reduction of miles of well-maintained highways and general deterioration of our transportation infrastructure. DOT, as part of last budget is required to cut additional 10% this cycle and another 10% next – 19% total over two years on top of last year’s hatchet job.

    Pledge politics is cannibalizing our state government.  

    • susaninrindge

      Great images for voters to conjure.

  • calvin

    “The legislature sent a wrecking ball through institutions and values that we hold dear…” My problem with this analysis is that after spending many, many days in the State House and the LOB for the past two years, the evidence seems to be that the economy had nothing to do with it. The wrecking ball was a Tea Party, Libertarian, Free-Stater, John Bircher, 9/12er, Republican philosophy that has as it’s goal abolishing democratic government as we know it.

  • RealNRH

    There has been a lot of talk about the differences between Cilley and Hassan regarding The Pledge, and it is an important distinction. Are there any other mutually acknowledged major differences they have as yet uncovered? I mean openly-stated positions where they disagree, not tea-leaf-reading based on individual votes that may or may not have had unique legislative reasons.

    If one actively supported a constitutional amendment to shirk the state responsibility to education, that would be a significant difference to me. If one wanted to repeal speed limits on waterways, that would be an appreciable difference. Things like that. I’ve seen a great deal of talk about the Pledge and whether the time is right to break its stranglehold on New Hampshire, but are there any other issues at play here in a significant way?

    • susaninrindge

      I have been so impressed with Jackie Cilley’s demeanor and the manner in which she states her positions in public. She is a  product of New Hampshire and is a quintessentially New Hampshire personality: smart and sharp in down-to-earth, practical way.  There is nothing highfalutin about her.

      Don’t underestimate these qualities   I can see her on a stage with Ovide (or any R) holding her own and devastating their arguments without rancor. I think her understanding of issues is crystal clear. She comes across as authentic, capable and caring.

      Jackie Cilley has earned my profound respect and support.

    • Kathy Sullivan 2

      Maggie voted to ban smoking in restaurants, to require seat belts, to ban payday loans, and to keep the law regarding fines on worker violations in place (Jackie sponsored a bill to give a warning first). Jackie’s votes were different. Although in fairness, which I will try to be, on the seat belt vote, the difference was an amendment  to a house bill which Maggie voted  for, while Jackie voted no with the Republicans. After the amendment failed, they both voted to table. Long story short, I believe Maggie’s voting record is better. Also, Maggie took a leadership role on some legislation I thought important, such as finance disclosure. Maggie was made senate majority leader, the second ranking Democrat after then senate president Larsen, which I think speaks to her leadership abilities.    

      • xteeth

        because it was a primary offense rather than a secondary offense? I don’t know the timing, but it seems to me that with a sheriff like there was, I think in Hudson, just itching to have a reason to pull over Hispanic looking individuals to check their citizenship, a primary offense like this would be a tool for profiling par excellence? That is, as I understand it, the difference. If you have violated the seat belt law and are already stopped for some other thing, then you get a ticket. With a primary offense, a officer can use that as an excuse to stop you without anything else as justification. What I still want to know is just what was Lou D’Allesandro’s excuse. I’ve tried to ask him a couple of times and have nothing.

        • Kathy Sullivan 2

          Here is the amendment Maggie was for, and Jackie, along with the Republicans, was against:

          Enforcement of this section by law enforcement agencies shall be accomplished only as a secondary action when a driver of a motor vehicle has been cited or charged with a violation or some other offense; provided, however, that a motor vehicle may be stopped for failure to comply with this section if the seat belt violation is for a person under 18 years of age.

          This amendment would have made it a secondary offense, and Jackie voted against it.

          WADR, Jackie’s voting record was less progressive.

          • xteeth

            As far as I have gotten, D’Allesandro, DeVries and Lasky also voted against it. Dems, I think. I’m still working on the reasoning. I would agree as said before that seat belts is a progressive issue along with medical marijuana, death penalty, transgender equality and gay marriage. One for five is still the count.

            Where does Sylvia Larsen fit into the leadership of the senate issue? Isn’t the job of the majority leader to mostly get Dems to fall in line or is that just the whip. As I have said, I have no line on what goes on behind those doors once they close and the smoking starts.  

      • susanthe

        It’s nice to see you modeling the kind of “say positive things in endorsement threads” that Mike asked of us.  

        • Kathy Sullivan 2
        • RealNRH

          I seriously wanted to know, and if they voted differently on those bills then it does matter. If a Cilley supporter can provide an explanation for what made those bills unsupportable from a progressive standpoint, then that would implicitly be a criticism of Hassan’s support for them. The only outright statement against Cilley was “while Jackie voted no with the Republicans.” Everything else was a positive about Hassan. “I believe Maggie’s voting record is better” is not a slam on Cilley; it’s about as generic a statement as you can get from a supporter of one candidate over another. If I believe someone has a better voting record, of course I support them.

          Can someone give specific context to those votes to explain what the difference was, or to suggest other votes on which Jackie Cilley might have been on the more progressive side than Maggie Hassan? If a ‘no’ vote was because there was some objectionable clause that one candidate felt was unsupportable, while supporting the main thrust of the bill otherwise, that would be a mitigating factor.

    • JonnyBBad
      • flatlander

        so can we go on from here. Jackie did not follow the party line on these issues and has given her reasons. Maggie did follow the party line.

        Shall we return to trashing Maggie for some vote like the LLC again or can we get on to discussing how each would govern? Isn’t the point to praise our candidates for what they have to offer?

        • JonnyBBad

          give me a break…all I heard today in Amherst is Pledge Politics Pledge Politics and Zombies may be headed to MSNBC…well that’s great, but nobody outside of NH will vote in this election.

          I seem to remember a moderate Democratic Governor, Lynch I think his name is, he took the Pledge. Most popular Governor ever, seems like. I have a great idea, let’s go directly counter to everything he stood for so we can hand the State House to Ovide and Billy O’Brien.

          • GSrocks

            Because your a zombie and have NO brain!

            • Kathy Sullivan 2

              The virus is in all of us…

          • susanthe

            since we’re talking about governors taking the  pledge, Republican Governor Craig Benson took it, too. Along with John Sununu, Judd Gregg, and of course, Mel Thomson.

            What a wonderful group to be part of!!  

            • Judy Reardon

              I think John W. King, who was the first Democrat elected governor in 40 years in 1962, ran promising not to raise any taxes, and I believe Hugh Gallen promised to veto an income or sales tax when he was elected in 1978 and re-elected in 1980.

              • Dartmouth Dem

                Gov. Gallen dropped the pledge when he ran for his third term — and lost.

                A great man by any measure, pledge or no pledge.

                • JonnyBBad
                  • xteeth
  • BradleyJardis

    If anyone in her campaign would like to know.

  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    …but was hindered by a campaign message of more taxes.  That’s what the voters heard in 2002.  We lost a potentially great leader at the polls — and got a horrible one in return — because of a message that we wanted more of the peoples’ money, and the opposition didn’t.

    To win in November, we MUST learn that lesson of a decade ago; a lesson re-taught to us two years ago.  Maggie Hassan is positioned to win.  Like it or not, New Hampshire voters are not for an income tax yet, and we can’t change hearts and minds in the 71 days left between Sunday, August 26th and Tuesday, November 6th.

    We just can’t.  All Republicans have to say is:  “So, the Democrats want a ‘discussion’ about a income tax?  Tell them with your voice and vote when you go to the polls next Tuesday.  Ovide Lamontagne:  ‘Take your taxes and Zombies and go away, thank you.'”

    And no amount of cute ads going viral, or even talk about the need for more “bridges and roads” that taxpayers should pay for, will change the view that people don’t want taxes.  That’s why President Barack Obama is saying he wants to CUT taxes on the vast majority of us, while making the “rich” pay a little more.  He gets it.  That’s what he’s saying.

    There are just about 1,700 hours between today and when voters go to the polls that day.  We risk all our progress — ALL OUR PROGRESS — by choosing a nominee whose campaign has made taxes the issue.  

    We’re still in “recovery mode” from 2010 when we were handed tremendous defeats.  We must learn from that.  Progress on everything from gay marriage to choice to right to work and all the other things we almost lost under O’Brien & Co. is at stake.  ALL OF IT.  

    • Putney Swope

      There are so many examples of glaring inequalities in our tax collection system.

      Jackie is right, we need to start having a conversation about taxes.

      We will not have that conversation if Maggie is the nominee and becomes governor.

      • Rep. Jim Splaine

        …so, Putney — and this is a serious question:  what’s your candidate’s position on taxes?  I know mine.  Maggie says the discussion has been had (so has the results of several elections).  She says it’s about priorities.  Bill Kennedy is courageous enough to say he proposes an income tax, and though he isn’t very specific, it’s a position.  

        Mark Fernald had a tax plan.  We ended up with two years of Craig What’s-His-Name.

        John Lynch, who won, took Maggie’s position in each of his elections — and I’m glad we didn’t have to see the “Governor John Stephen” administration that we would have had these past two years if Lynch had not continued his position during the 2010 election.  He would have lost.  Smashed.  And gay marriage, which you and I worked early and hard for, WOULD have been repealed.

        My position is we should have an income tax based on ability to pay dedicated solely to education.  I’ve had that position since 1982 when I ran for re-election to the N.H. State Senate, long before many of today’s income tax supporters took a position.  And I’ve participated in the discussion for those 40 years.  We’ve had that discussion.  It continues today.  It will tomorrow.

        So, what’s your candidate’s position.  Just to “have a discussion?” MORE discussion?  It continues no matter who is Governor.  And, by the way, under our State’s Constitution, Governor’s can’t introduce tax bills.  Nor can tax bills be initiated in the State Senate.  They must be introduced in the House.  

        That’s what just didn’t do it for me, and why I support Maggie.  We’ve had the discussion, so let’s hear the position.  

        How “let’s have a discussion” without even taking a position can excite so many Democrats is really bewildering to me, because we may well lose what really matters:  the progress we’ve made on equality, priorities, labor issues, choice.  The Bill O’Briens love us right now for “having the discussion.”

        Besides all that, we’re playing sematics here.  A “pledge” is a “position” too.  A “position” is a “pledge.”  Both oppose repealing gay marriage, a pledge and a position.  Both oppose Right-To-Work.  That’s their pledge and position.  

        So anyone who says…

        “…we need to start having a conversation about taxes…”

        .

        …I have to remind them that we’ve been having that conversation for many years.  Let’s take a position.  Let’s talk about what counts.  What really matters.  

        We stand a chance for a 2010 repeat of loss of our statewide candidates in 2012 if we’re not careful.  The Republicans will love “having the discussion,” and we’ll lose.  Just ask your neighbors if they want to pay more taxes?

        President Barack Obama knows this, and that’s why his position is that the vast majority of us, those making under $250,000, should pay LESS; the rich should pay a bit more.  That’s his position, and it’s an understandable and winning one.  

        • Putney Swope

          The last time the state has had a discussion was when Mark ran for governor.

          It’s been 10 years; times have changed. Incomes have fallen; property taxes have increased. There are new voters.

          Maggie admits that fees will have to increase. Which fees and by how much?

          Even you state that “President Barack Obama knows this, and that’s why his position is that the vast majority of us, those making under $250,000, should pay LESS; the rich should pay a bit more.”

          Ubder the status quo, which Maggie now owns, this will never happen.

          • kite

            that discussion has been loud and ongoing in letters to the editor, state representative races, town halls, selectmen’s meetings, barber shops, gambling dens, and street corners.  I’m not happy with the results of the discussion, and i lean toward cilley myself, but not so that we can “have that discussion.”  Sorry, i think that’s idiotic.

        • Chaz Proulx
      • ChrisMelcher

        The Union Leader outlined the discussion points clearly in their editorial today. We need to know where Jackie stands, not that we can have a discussion.  

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