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What this state needs: a new pledge

Last modified: 9/22/2010 12:00:00 AM
Almost 40 years ago Gov. Meldrim Thomson put forth a simple and concise pledge to the people of New Hampshire. With the slogan 'Ax the Tax' behind him, Thomson asked candidates for political office to 'practice economy and frugality . . . to obtain the blessings of liberty and good government.' His pledge, and the subsequent follow-through by those who signed the pledge, helped New Hampshire residents enjoy unprecedented prosperity for almost 30 years.

Times have certainly changed.

State spending has grown at unprecedented levels during the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. Every man, woman and child in this country owes $43,000 to cover his or her share of the national debt. Public sector job growth continues to outpace private sector jobs, and public pensions are at an all time high - unfunded state pensions in New Hampshire exceed $5 billion. All this while those in the private sector have either been laid off or taken voluntary cuts in compensation just to retain their jobs.

To try to get things back on track, Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire has revised Thomson's pledge with a few minor modifications. The AFP NH pledge for 2010 has four basic principles and reads as follows:

As a candidate for public office in New Hampshire, I pledge to you, that if elected to serve the people, I will work tirelessly to:

Cut taxes and fees (oppose a sales and/or income tax);

Cut spending;

Cut the size of government;

Uphold both the New Hampshire and U.S. Constitutions.

As simplistic as this pledge is, there are still candidates running for public office who have either refused to accept the certified mail which contained the pledge or have plainly refused to sign the pledge.

Americans for Prosperity mailed, via the U.S. Postal Service, 1,025 pledges. This consisted of one pledge for each candidate (Republican, Democrat and Independent) running for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, governor, state representative, state Senate and all county offices (sheriff, county commissioner, etc).

We are proud to have over 300 pledges returned. This indicates almost 30 percent of all candidates running for office have signed the pledge. However, 30 percent is not enough. We, the public, should demand every candidate commit to the basic principles of smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation if we want to maintain and extend the New Hampshire Advantage.

Go to our website, americansforprosperity.org/new-hampshire, to check and see if the candidates in your community support smaller government and pledge to oppose a sales and income tax. Help to keep our elected officials and candidates accountable by downloading the pledge. Every time you meet someone running for office, ask them if they have signed the pledge. If they haven't, hand them a copy and wait until they sign.

With your help, we can make New Hampshire great again. The old axiom made famous by Mel Thomson, 'Low taxes are the result of low spending,' has never held more meaning. Those were words to live by 40 years ago and, if we care about our children's future, we must return to those principles.

(Corey R. Lewandowski is state director of Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire. Tom Thomson is the son of the late Mel Thomson and honorary chairman of AFP New Hampshire.)


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