ICYMI: NHGOP Chairman Kimball op-ed: The N.H. GOP is forging ahead without an 'easy button'


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The N.H. GOP is forging ahead without an 'easy button'

By: Jack Kimball, NHGOP Chairman 
Foster's Daily Democrat
August 18, 2011

I would like to respond to the editorial published in Foster's Daily Democrat on Aug. 11, entitled "Who does the GOP represent?" The editors examined the results of recent special elections in Strafford and Hillsborough Counties in which both Republican candidates were defeated. The article quotes Democrat Party Chairman Ray Buckley's partisan diatribe about the GOP and, in general, paints a largely critical and one-sided picture of both the GOP and it's accomplishments in the spring session of the 2011 New Hampshire Legislature. 

So who do we represent? We represent those that agree with the preamble to the Declaration of Independence: We actively support the rule of law, setting it firmly on the bedrock foundations of our state and federal constitutions, as plainly written and intended by our forebears. We believe in the inherent, sovereign right of the electorate to rule the government, not the other way around; and that the government was contracted to protect our lives, our liberties and our property, not micromanage them. We represent laissez faire capitalism and the proven axiom that liberty and reason are the necessary handmaidens of human happiness. We represent those that see America's promise and ideals as exceptional and inspirational to the whole world. If you would breathe free, we represent you.

Ideals and party mission statements are one thing, but delivering on promises made and implied is quite another. So how did we do? On Election Day 2010, the Republican-led legislature faced a structural deficit of $895,000,000 in a sinking economy with U3 unemployment standing at 5.7%. We had promised to balance the budget with no new taxes or fees, and to do so without resorting to gimmicks or the state credit card or load-shifting to cities and towns. We had large majorities in the legislature, and all five seats in the Executive Council, but faced a popular four-term Democrat governor.

The implication that Bill O'Brien and the Republicans took their eye off balancing the budget is absurd. There was no 'easy button' or a 'quick button' either. To cut 11% without creating havoc or unnecessary pain was the work of several committees, who put in extraordinary hours over months of work and deliberation to meet the challenge. And what was the result? A balanced budget, including the reduction of 12 taxes and fees.

In fact, Foster's conceded: "Since Republicans gained control of the legislature last November, New Hampshire has seen a rebirth of responsible budgeting. While many of the choices made during the last legislative session were heart-wrenching, for the most part they were made necessary by the Democratic Party's [total] dominance in prior years." In other words, don't blame the surgeon for the amputations; rather, blame those who caused the train wreck.

Nor did we forget to encourage job growth. In aid of that, the Republicans passed 43 new laws that cut or reduced regulation and red tape for enterprise, thus enhancing the business climate significantly. And results showed up fairly promptly. The growing confidence of the business community in New Hampshire added 5,600 new jobs and lowered the U3 unemployment figures almost a full one percent to 4.8% in just the first 8 months.

But a lot more goes on in the legislature during the session, than the complex budgetary process. As many know, most work is done in the many committees, who work concurrently on a host of issues and bills which, being far less complex than the budget, came to the floor for debate and resolution earlier in the session. This did not mean that the legislature was sitting on its hands concerning the budget or that it lacked priority. I'm happy to report that, under the able leadership of Bill O'Brien, Pam Tucker, D. J. Bettencourt, Peter Bragdon and a host of overworked committee chairs, the GOP can legislate effectively and keep their promises to the electorate at the same time.

Let me close by saying, that New Hampshire Republicans are fully united in our commitment to the NH Advantage; to creating a great, family and business-friendly climate that will return flourishing enterprises and good paying jobs to New Hampshire. We believe that liberty is the necessary precursor to prosperity. Our City on the Hill is future friendly and open for business.

Jack Kimball
New Hampshire Republican Party