What is it about the idea of holding the line on government spending that scares people so badly? Ever since fellow Merrimack resident Bill Boyde asked my wife (a democrat mind you) and I to sign a petition to try to allow a spending cap article to be put on the ballot I've heard argument after argument both for and against it.
Generally it comes down to one of two discussions. The first are those who agree. They pat me on the back figuratively speaking and say things along the lines of 'we need more people willing to stick their necks out to defend us like you do'.
The other side is a bit more interesting, instead of attacking the concept itself they generally target a number of other issues. 'Do I know that the advantage collation is headed by Mike Biundo?', for instance. Or they point out that now Al Baldasaro is heading up the efforts in Londonderry. And now in Merrimack they are pointing out that it's supported by the free state project because... gasp... two of the seven people who signed the petition happen to be free staters. They argue that the people currently in office are controlling spending so it's not necessary, funny no mention of those who held office not long ago in Merrimack that lead the town into a tax revolt. Or my favorite argument, that the NHAC is a state wide group as if that matters.
I'm noticing very few of the arguments are about the petition itself. Its almost as if some people are trying to intimidate anyone from signing the petition so it never even gets a chance for people to vote one way or the other on it.
The concept is that the town or city cannot increase their budget more then the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of the year before. There are even ways around this should a town or city find they have no choice but to spend more. A simple 2/3's vote allows the cap to be over ridden. Warrant articles would likewise be exempt so new spending could be put into individual warrant articles giving the voters more power over their budgets by allowing a sort of line item veto power on new spending without having to reject the entire budget.
Where are the problems with that idea? It's time to start debating the idea itself, not the hype around it, those who support it or even misconceptions about it. Look at the facts and I think most people will see this as a very good idea.