Self-Government in Danger?

By Bill Wilson

The City of Concord does not want its residents—or those of any other city in New Hampshire—to be allowed to vote to limit taxes and spending. That is the real truth.

 

It is the only real reason the City Solicitor could have for filing suit in the Merrimack Superior Court against a perfectly legitimate measure that limits tax and spending increases to no more than the rate of inflation. He wants it removed from the ballot.

 

Sure, he couches his filing because, he says, “The question I have is a fundamental legal one as to whether or not it is, in fact, constitutional.” Hogwash.

 

Whether it gets removed from the ballot or not is a secondary issue, Mr. Cavanaugh assures residents of Concord. He just wants to make sure it’s legal: “No one has raised the issue in court... We'd like to raise it and get an answer.” Poppycock.

 

The real truth is that the Concord city government wants to raise taxes and spending well above the rate of inflation, and would like a court order to make sure that never again is government spending “threatened” by reasonable limits in its growth. This is a flashpoint issue between taxpayers and government.

 

There are similar tax and spending caps throughout New Hampshire, and the ruling by the Superior Court is likely to impact those budget restrictions throughout the state. A similar measure just passed in Rochester, New Hampshire this November.

 

Across the country in states like Colorado and New Hampshire, taxpayer rebellions are occurring. And they do indeed threaten the political establishment. That’s part of the point. The rest of it is that taxpayers are not just going to sit by idly while governments attempt to shackle citizens to an ever-increasing mounds of debts, financial “obligations”, and “mandatory” spending.

 

What is really going on here is a concerted effort to create an entitlement for government employees, for the unions, and for the political establishment, who in Concord would be more than happy to be assured of the job security that a mandatory, minimum spending order from an unaccountable court offers.

 

Residents of Concord, and citizens of New Hampshire need to beware. What is really at stake is their right to in their city charters to limit the growth of taxes and spending. Indeed, their very right to limit the powers of their government via referendum—the right of self-government.

 

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.