Your Turn, NH
|Title:||Your Turn, NH: Free State Project would keep NH government small|
Your Turn, NH: Free State Project would keep NH government small
by James Maynard 07/28/03 Guest Commentary
There is a small-government political movement under way which could change forever the dynamics of the debate over the size and cost of New Hampshire government, and it has little to do with the current battle raging between Gov. Craig Benson and Sen. Dick Green.
The Free State Project aims to bring 20,000 small-government activists, donors and candidates to one state to work within the political process to make government smaller, less expensive and more accountable. And New Hampshire is on the "short list" of states the organization is considering for its home.
The group has formed on the Internet (www.freestateproject.org), and it boasts more than 4,500 members who have pledged to move to the chosen state when the group reaches its goal of 20,000 members.
The "Live free or die" attitude and history of New Hampshire, along with our lack of any general sales or income taxes, helmet, adult seat belt or mandatory insurance laws are just a few of the things which are enticing about New Hampshire to members of the Free State Project. But what are the benefits for New Hampshire residents if the project decides to settle in the Granite State?
First, a good percentage of people involved in the project are owners of small businesses. If the FSP chooses New Hampshire, we will likely see more than 10,000 small businesses relocated to our state, lowering unemployment and raising wages.
If each of the expected 20,000 members spent just a modest $25,000 a year in the state, that level of consumerism would infuse our state with an additional $500 million a year in the New Hampshire economy.
But even more importantly, the members would work to save New Hampshire from the threat of broadbased taxes and irresponsible spending. The Free State Project could end big-government spending and the threat of a broadbased tax forever in the Granite State. It would ensure responsible state spending and low taxation throughout the state.
At the local level, members of the Free State Project would work with New Hampshire citizens in town meetings, and in the cities on warrant articles supporting minimal taxation and opening educational opportunities. They would work for greater leeway in the use of private property and for the reduction of unnecessary regulations on free enterprise. This would stir a small business boom that would embolden the New Hampshire economy for many years to come.
The Free State Project is a mixture of common-sense ideas and thinking outside the box. While working within the framework and reality of real-life state and local politics, the group will not be afraid to try new things and take lessons from the business world to bring New Hampshire a smaller, less expensive, more accountable government. Working its way through smaller offices and earning experience and knowledge, the group will help New Hampshire to maintain it's advantage as a low-tax, small-government state.
While meeting with members of the Free State Project the day after his historic budget veto, Gov. Benson welcomed the group to "come on up" to New Hampshire. Above the governor's desk is a painting of former Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr. Within the painting of the former governor is a sign on his desk which reads "Low taxes are the result of low spending." The Free State Project members agree with this philosophy, as do a majority of New Hampshire residents.
New Hampshire supporters within the Free State Project held a week-long convention in Lancaster in the last week of June. The event was attended by people from 22 states and Canada who have pledged to move to the Granite State to help us in our fight against a broadbased tax if our state is chosen for the project's goals.
New Hampshire is proud of our independence from government, and this is reflected in our state's "Live free or die" motto. The New Hampshire supporters within the Free State Project are working hard to welcome small government activists to the Granite State.
The group is currently conducting its vote for its state of choice, and anyone wishing to join the project and cast a vote will need to join before Aug. 15. New Hampshire is the best choice for the FSP, and the FSP is a great choice for New Hampshire.
James Maynard lives in Keene and is an assistant at the Antioch College library.
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