Dems have fiddled while economy burned
There is an old myth that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Here in New Hampshire, the Democrats have fiddled us back to a ‘60s counter-cultural radicalism while letting the state’s economy “burn.” That’s a reality, not just an old myth.Few of us were sad to watch 2009 pass. The state’s unemployment rate grew to 6.7 percent, our budget ended the year $50 million off projection, the deficit reached approximately $200 million and a $625 million deficit is lurking for the next budgetary period.When the budget deficit metastasized last winter the Democrats were busy working to decriminalize marijuana and lessen other offenses for use of other drugs. As jobless claims grew in the spring, they were focused on “transgender rights” and a “bathroom bill,” and during the summer, as $110 million of the state budget was being legally challenged in the courts, Democrats were preoccupied with celebrating the passage of gay marriage.For the third consecutive term, Democrats defeated parental notification legislation, which ensures another two years of children having the ability to undergo abortion surgery without their parents’ knowledge, but they can’t ask the school nurse for an aspirin without a parents note. We still bear the distinction as the only state in history to repeal parental notification.Regardless of how one feels on these social issues, the focus should have been on our declining economy. Democrats were not completely uninterested in economics, however. They looked back to the 1960s and lazily adopted the failed “Great Society” mentality of Lyndon Johnson. They were preoccupied on social changes, while totally ignoring our current economic slump. Democrats were satisfied with blindly spending taxpayer money, expanding governmental bureaucracy, and raising taxes, with little regard for the consequences.As a result, since taking control of the State House, they have raised more than 50 taxes and fees and increased General Fund spending by 25 percent.These policies were enacted at a time when other states in the nation were finding ways to cut spending by 2 percent, on average. When budget cuts were made on the rare occasion, they were made at the expense of health and human services, the Department of Corrections, and the judicial system. Meanwhile, art subsidies and wildflower planting were funded at equal or greater levels. These policies have set New Hampshire on the path to a sales or income tax.Elections have consequences. Historically the three major elections in the ‘60s had a great effect on American society. I firmly believe the 2010 election may prove to be as critically important as the elections of the 1960s. If New Hampshire does not take corrective measures to elect leaders who will focus on our economy then we may find a state at the end of this new decade that is indistinguishable from our neighbors in Massachusetts and Maine and has shared in their treacherous economic fate of over-taxation, over-regulation, and corruption.David Bettencourt, R-Salem, is assistant House Republican whip and a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.