Live Free or Die

Ideologically, New Hampshire is arguably the most unique state in the United States today.  It’s motto is “Live Free or Die” and its residents take this credo very seriously.  They are a proud, independent and thrifty people who abhor Big Government.  There is no state sales tax, and no state income tax.  Their property taxes are higher than neighboring states, but at the end of the day the total cost of living in NH is thousands of dollars per year cheaper than living in any other New England state.  Recently I read an article about the State appointing a cadre of geriatric social workers for home visits.  Apparently there were many elderly living on such minimal incomes, they lacked enough money for basics like food, heat, and medical treatment, but their pride and repugnance of government aid hindered them from seeking available help and social services.  Few would accept Welfare.  The State wanted to ensure that these reluctant elderly were getting the services they were entitled to, hence they mandated home visits.  A few days later, the newspapers were full of indignant Letters to the Editor by elderly readers blasting Big Government for their interference.

But what really caught my eye was this article from the Conway Daily Sun.  A school board in the Mt. Washington Valley town of Bartlett realized that they had a budget surplus.  They voted to return the surplus to Bartlett’s residents so property taxes could remain low.  They also publicly accounted for every dollar spent (to the penny!).  Can you imagine this happening in any of the schools where you live, be they private or public?

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