In the New Hampshire gubernatorial race, every candidate except for Jackie Cilley has promised to oppose the passage of any broad-based tax on the citizens of the state. Cilley has decided not to make this important promise to New Hampshire tax payers has committed today’s all-to-popular fallacy of appealing to moderation:
“(Pledges) make decisions in advance of even being able to diagnose a problem fully,” she said. “They are not leadership, and they don’t allow for governing. I favor a government that has adequate resources to do the job right, not one dime more and not one dime less,” she said. “When you come from that premise, you say everything’s on the table. We’re going to look at what the most logical, pragmatic way is to bring our state into the 21st century to face the challenges of the 21st century marketplace and to attract the kinds of businesses that we want here.”
So like all those seeking some grand bargain at the federal level, Cilley is appealing to the false promise of compromise. It’s well documented that grand bargains have a record that is quite different from the lofty rhetoric used by proponents. She is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the citizens of New Hampshire by promising that she will act as a responsible politician who is only trying to help. However, her policies would harm New Hampshire.
Voters in New Hampshire only need to be reminded of the history of compromise in Congress. Since the ‘80s pro-tax politicians, in order to gain the support for tax increases from conservatives, promise spending cuts as a compromise. However, history has shown, again and again, that the tax increases remain, but the spending cuts do not.
One could expect a similar result if tax hikes are on the table in New Hampshire. The compromise would be to increase taxes to “responsibly” fix the budget and nothing more. This won’t happen; tax increases will only encourage politicians to spend more. It is a pretty good rule of thumb that the more tax revenue you give a politician, the more they are going to want to spend.
Additionally, the whole concept of a pragmatic approach to government to solve problems, especially when it involves tax increases, is foolish. Yes, New Hampshire may be taking in less money than it is spending in the long run, but this in no way implies that taxes should be raised. Perhaps she should consider a policy platform that reduces spending in order to fix New Hampshire’s budget problems.
One of the main reasons that New Hampshire has had the blessing of high-economic growth, high median incomes, low unemployment and generally great standard of living is because the state has kept a 0% tax on income and retail sales. New Hampshire is competing for more economic activity with its neighbors and is winning.
Raising taxes would put New Hampshire on the same high-tax, high-spending, low-growth path that its neighboring states have been on for decades. Even if on Monday taxes were raised to stabilize the New Hampshire budget, there is no reasonable assurance that taxes and spending wouldn’t be raised even higher in the future. So as long as New Hampshire politicians keep their pledge to enact broad-based taxes, New Hampshire will remain a shining example of better tax policy.
To see that spending has done in New Hampshire, check out this spending calculator.