The Republican candidates for Governor had a debate in Laconia last week. The Laconia Evening Citizen reported it as being more like an introduction session as all the candidates had the same positions on the issues and it went like this:
- Cut state agencies 10-12%.
- New Hampshire has a revenue not a spending problem.
- Opposition to expanded casino gaming (except for one candidate).
If this is the best the Republican Party can come up with I think Gov. Lynch will be successful in November. None of this is a real platform or least a platform that can be realistically implemented, and it’s interesting that none of the candidates stated any specific ideas with their positions instead, they simply passed the buck.
“I’m a consensus builder.” said Karen Testerman as she described herself later in the evening. First she says she supports cutting costs at state agencies then she calls herself a consensus builder imagine that. For example the New Hampshire Department of Transportation cannot replace bridges that are red listed because of funding; NHDOT routinely operates heavy equipment past its working life span again because of funding. Yet an inexperienced candidate like Testerman believes that it is possible to shave 10-12% off of the budget and this is just one state agency; arguments like this can be demonstrated across state government. Former Commissioner John Stephen followed the same rationale with the cuts and this is surprising as he knows firsthand that cuts like this aren’t realistic, and of course he suggested the ever popular “eliminating the cost redundancy in state government.” This hasn’t already been studied umpteenth times by the legislature since at least the early 1990s and each time they come back with the same recommendations: reduce the use of consultants and reduce the state vehicle fleet. And if you read the fine print New Hampshire Health and Human Services is one of the largest elements of these cost redundancies. Commissioner Stephen talks about saving costs but he doesn’t say how he would do it. I don’t think this is the type of leadership New Hampshire needs in the corner office. But the cutting costs does play well and every NH taxpayer like to hear this whether it’s true or not.
The next part is the opposition to expanded casino gaming. Stephen stated that as a former prosecutor he came into contact with “undesirables” and this is a reason why New Hampshire should forgo millions of dollars of revenue and enhancement of the state’s largest industry because a former prosecutor knows best.
To Be Continued