Thursday, October 04, 2012

Posturing, Promises, and The Pledge

Gubernatorial candidates Hassan and Lamontagne had another non-debate event (I don't know what to call these things) where they discussed their beliefs, plans, intentions for our state. This time the topic was tourism, which happens to be the number 2 industry in NH.

NH has some distinct problems. For starters, we fund our state parks entirely by user fees. NH is the only state that does this, and there's one very compelling reason why. It Doesn't Work. NH parks are in desperate need of repair, and investment.

I wrote about our rest area/welcome center problem in April. A number of our rest areas are closed, either full or part time, and banks of porta potties are lined up in front. One can see how welcoming this might be to a weary traveler with a full bladder.

The bottom line here is that NH doesn't want to invest in anything. That's been true since I moved here in 1984. NH's infrastructure is the 11th worst in the nation. That didn't happen overnight. It happened over a period of decades. NH is one of the wealthiest states (per capita) in the union. We are also the cheapest. We aren't willing to invest in anything that would move our state forward, because not investing worked for us for a long, long time, and our elected officials (of both parties) are firmly ensconced in the past. By that I mean both parties defend the Loeb/Thomson no tax "pledge." This creates an interesting problem:

From the Union Leader:

The two candidates agreed on a number of issues.
I find that statement alarming - but how can it be otherwise? Both candidates took the pledge, which guarantees that we'll never have the revenue to fix anything that needs fixing. This means a lot of posturing and promises from both sides, while nothing changes. The only place where there can be any serious disagreement between these two is social issues. 

The bridge over the Sawyer River, on Rt. 302 in Hart's Location was washed out during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. A temporary bridge was erected. No work has been done to repair/replace this bridge. Rt. 302 is one of the two main highways in the north country, essential to the transportation of goods and services.  

This is what pledge politics looks like:


Anonymous said...

A good piece again Susan. And we all complain about the poor infrastructure of NH and what's up with that temp. bridge on 302 that as you wrote, has been forgotten and abandoned? But there is something else that I keep coming back to. It can't be helped. Our electorate, the very citizen and voter of our state and nation appear not only shallow but image driven. Who looks the best and can WIN in argument (battle) etc. It's pathetic and says something negative about the lack of intellectual strength of our nation. This is really why we are in the muck we find ourselves in. And all elected officials are merely responding to this.

Julia Riber Pitt said...

No Susan, dontcha know that having the state spend any money at all on infrastructure is just like breaking a window to jumpstart the economy? Maybe you ought to read some REAL free market economics!

Okay, that was just be joking. But yeah, I hear arguments like that from a lot of free staters/teabaggers.