New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson is a rare breed of politician… he's the kind who keeps his promises even after the campaign is over. I met him the day after he vetoed an $8.8 billion budget, stamping the budget with a custom-made 2-by-4 red VETO stamp that his staff had purchased for him. The budget would have resulted in a $200 million deficit, which would eventually have to be paid down with tax increases. With his budget veto, he kept his campaign promise to keep taxes low and rein in state expenditures.
The entire state is buzzing with the news of his veto. Many in the media are comparing him with Mel Thomson, who similarly butted heads with the legislature by vetoing over-spent budgets. Thomson ran for governor on the platform, "ax the tax." Though lawmakers may have been frustrated with Thomson, he was a favorite with New Hampshire taxpayers who re-elected him twice. It appears that Governor Benson also admires Thomson; a prominent portrait of Mel Thomson with the quote "Low taxes are the result of low spending" greets all visitors to the Governor's office. Granite (and Free) Staters can expect him to continue to follow Thomson's fiscally responsible lead.
"I remember hearing about the Free State Project back when Jason Sorens was recruiting feedback for the idea. Having heard of plenty of other 'let's form our own group' schemes, I smiled, nodded, and pushed the delete key, and expected to hear maybe one or two more things about the project at most. I'm delighted to say that I was wrong...I've been to a number of libertarian-oriented conferences, and read about many more. I know how argumentative and emotionally invested in being right some individuals can be. One of the first, and ongoing, surprises of the Grand Western Conference was how pleasant everyone I spoke to was. Nothing seemed to be about ego; the presentations and private conversations alike seemed focused on accomplishing the goal of greater freedom."
Sunni Maravillosa writes about personal freedom. Her blog is Sunni and the Conspirators.
On May 17, 2003, with FSP treasurer Debra Ricketts attending, the Wyoming Libertarian Party endorsed the Free State Project.
"The Wyoming Libertarian Party endorses the Free State Project."
The Wyoming LP also invites FSP members to attend its meetings, especially the July 12 Annual "Enjoy Your Second Amendment Rights While You Got 'em" Shooting Party.
This was originally published by Gary Marbut in the Sierra Times, which is no longer available.
Over this past weekend I attended the Grand Western Conference of the Free State Project here in Missoula.
The Free State Project (FSP) was initiated by Dr. Jason Sorens, a political scientist from Yale. FSP is now a nationwide organization. The object is to determine which of the U.S. states offers its citizens the greatest climate of individual liberty. A complex matrix of factors is used to evaluate the quality of personal freedom, including economic factors, population and cultural factors, and, of course, the freedom of people to keep and bear arms.
Once the FSP has accumulated 5,000 members who have pledged to move to the chosen state, the project will allow its members to vote among the best states, especially to vote directed by the state-by-state freedom analysis done by the FSP. See their Website at:
In Montana, on a 6-0 vote, the state LP's executive committee voted to endorse the concept of the Free State Project (FSP). The vote took place on May 25, just after the state LP hosted the FSP-themed Grand Western Conference.
At the April 2003 Alaska Libertarian Party State Convention in Juneau Alaska one of the topics on the agenda was the Free State Project. Some felt that Alaska was clearly the best choice because of its low population and existing strong libertarian leanings. A motion to formally endorse the Free State Project was seconded and unanimously passed.