Publisher's Note: My best and worst of 2007
By Jody Reese
Worst opinion: We must have rail
This year Nashua’s plan for rail service to Boston suffered a setback. The plan had been for Packard Development to build a 450,000-square-foot strip mall with a rail station in it. Packard Development removed the station because the company felt the State of New Hampshire wasn’t moving fast enough to put rail in. The state must create a rail authority, create some sort of liability cap for the rail service and, of course, help fund some of the cost of extending the line from Lowell to Nashua. This will all take some time. What I didn’t know then was that there is hope, but it’s not in rail. As a recent Hippo cover story laid out, southern New Hampshire’s future of public transportation is in buses. The roads are already built. While buses are not as sexy as trains, they do offer a practical future. They’re New Hampshire’s best shot at public transportation, according to interim Transportation Commissioner Charles O’Leary.
Best opinion: Let us be dummies
In a Publisher’s Note in May, I opposed new legislation that would have required adults to wear seatbelts. In the end the Senate killed the bill. New Hampshire is the last state to not require drivers and their adult passengers to buckle up. Our decision to remain the odd state out reflects our desire to leave people with as much personal freedom as possible. The decision to be a dummy is a decision that all us dummies should retain.
Best opinion: Property taxes are a bad way to fund education
In April, I advocated replacing property taxes as the main source of education funding. By continuing to use property taxes as the way to pay for schools, the state continues to pit one town against the next. Schools, in fact, have gotten so expensive that towns actively work to keep kids out and bring seniors in. The result is a graying region that threatens our long-term growth. Personal property taxes have been a bad way to raise government funds since we all stopped farming.
Worst opinion: NH doesn’t matter
In May, I said New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is no longer as important as it once was. Well, tell this to Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani’s strategy was to bypass Iowa and New Hampshire. But that meant that all the other candidates received months of free press. Giuliani has lost his national frontrunner status and is scrambling to compete in New Hampshire. Even with major states moving their primaries up to early February, New Hampshire continues to be extremely important. It has single-handedly put U.S. Sen. John McCain back into the race. Candidates can’t simultaneous compete in a dozen states. There’s really only the money and time to compete in three or four. And those continue to be Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.