Thursday, November 09, 2006
You could substitute "Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage" for "flatlanderism" and use it as a description of what is wrong here. (Flatlander, btw, is usually preceded by a mild oath in adjectival form such as "darn'd Flatlander". I'm guessing I won't ever hear this on Prairie Home Companion -- maybe this is why I hate the show.) Jay also understands how we Granite Staters have kept the legislature from imposing big government, both by the old NH Constitution and by making the legislators do something other than legislate:
The Democrats unseated both incumbent congressmen, kept the governorship, took 237 of the 400 House seats, 14 of 24 Senate seats, and 3 of the 5 Executive Councilors. Our two senators remain Republican, but I suspect a good chunk of the reason is that neither were up for re-election this time around.
Since I didn't see it happening, I'm not sure just how it happened, but I have a theory:
I blame the flatlanders.
To those unfamiliar with that term, a "flatlander" is our pet name for those people who flee to New Hampshire for our low cost of living, low-maintenance government, friendly business environment, healthy economy, and sense of independence and freedom. Unfortunately, they see only the good things and don't see the underlying elements needed to maintain them. There is a price to be paid for such things, and we have looked at them, seen how they work out elsewhere, and want nothing to do with them.
The newcomers don't make the connections, and immediately start working towards "improving" our state by bringing in the parts of their old home they miss the most. They don't see the underlying costs and needs of such things.
And the main ingredient for such things is money. Public money. Tax money. OUR money.
New Hampshire has the distinction of being the only state with no general sales tax, nor any income taxes. We also pay our legislators less than a pittance -- $100 a year, plus expenses. We understand that in our three branches of government, the judiciary interprets the law, the executive carries out the law, but the legislature MAKES the law -- and we neither want nor need more laws. The idea is that if we don't pay the legislators a living wage, they might not feel inclined to make a living out of lawmaking and therefore won't make so many new laws. We see every day the consequences of a "full-time, professional" legislature, and we don't want anything to do with it.I was asked once to run for the legislature here in Minnesota, and in the process was told that I would be able to get a stipend to pay for an apartment in the Twin Cities and a per diem (I think still is $66 per day). You work late in the day, I was told, and so you'll want a place to rest at night. I couldn't figure out why I thought this was wrong, but instinctively I recoiled at the idea. Thanks to you, Jay, I figured out now why.
Note to Taxpayers League: Here's your agenda item.