A recent letter in the Granite State News from the two Republican candidates for state representative was very succinct and to the point. It urges people to vote on the single issue of taxes, quoting Calvin Coolidge, the president who ushered in the Great Depression. It concludes with: “A vote for us is a vote against any sales or income tax.”
We would like to remind our colleagues that we are in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, as well as a pandemic that has affected almost 7,400 New Hampshire residents — not to mention all their families.
By July of this year, the state had lost 78,634 jobs — of which 4,630 were in Carroll County — compared with the same month a year earlier.
Many people have lost their health insurance along with their jobs. Hourly wage earners who managed to keep their jobs now have reduced schedules and income, and suffer from food and rent insecurity. Students lost almost half a year of school and are facing diminished learning prospects for the coming school year. Parents are experiencing urgent child-care issues due to school closings or partial school openings.
And because state tax revenues are rapidly declining in this environment, the state government has accelerated its downshifting of financial responsibilities to our local government budgets.
Towns in Carroll County can expect even less state funding for services than the already low base of the last several years. Even though New Hampshire is No. 1 in the country in terms of per capita income, we rank 50th in terms of state funding for education.
Promising not to raise sales and income taxes is immaterial when the average person’s income has dropped so precipitously. This is certainly not the time to raise taxes. It’s like the proverbial “squeezing blood from a stone.” There is no “blood” when incomes and jobs have been so hard hit. Taxes are not the issue: Government spending to fight the pandemic and recession is the issue.
Given the economic hit the state has taken due to the pandemic, continuing the mantra of “no taxes” is the wrong way to vote for our leadership. It only serves to perpetuate a divisive ideological issue.
Our towns deserve representation at the State House that will be constructive and collaborative. We must focus our spending, including the coming additional federal aid, on the right priorities. We need representatives who will search with open minds for practical solutions to the problems that our communities will be facing and fight to bring dignity to all our residents.
The new Legislature in 2021 will be charged with devising commonsense plans to help our citizens and our businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is our commitment to work toward the following goals:
• Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour through an annual increase to bring us to $12 an hour.
• Ensuring universal coverage of health insurance in New Hampshire through employers, private insurers, the NH Marketplace, Medicare VA and Medicaid.
• Requiring health insurers to make testing, vaccination and the treatment of COVID-19 free to individuals.
• Creating a more equitable way to fund public schools that does not unduly burden less affluent communities.
• Seeking creative solutions to the affordable housing crisis that will help bring skilled workers to New Hampshire.
• Creating a Clean Energy Plan that will not only help the environment, but which will create new skilled jobs for N.H. workers.
This is our commitment to you if we have the honor of serving as state representatives.
Carrie Duran and John Wall, Democratic candidates for state representative, Wolfeboro, supported by these Democratic candidates for state representative: Donna Ackerman, Wakefield; Anita Burroughs, Bartlett; Eve Klotz, Effingham; Jerry Knirk, Freedom; Ellin Leonard, North Conway; Chris Mcleer, Jackson; Chip Merrill, Moultonborough; Caroline Nesbitt, Sandwich; Knute Ogren, Effingham; Patricia Pustell, Ossipee; Stephen Woodcock, Conway.