Hippo Manchester
November 17, 2005

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Publisher's Note: Guinta’s work pays off
by Jody Reese

Click here to read State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt's letter to Mayor-Elect Guinta

There are some that want Mayor-Elect Frank Guinta to turn back the clock to 1995, stop all investment in the city and focus on cutting spending.

If Guinta’s team can find places to save money, that would be great, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of making Manchester a better place to live. We need to find a balance between keeping taxes as low as possible and spending enough money to keep the streets safe, keep our kids educated and keep our city growing. Investments in big capital projects that require borrowing, such as the Verizon Wireless Arena and Fisher Cats Stadium, are necessary to encourage other private development.

Such investments create strong economy that will keep taxes in check over the long term, not just in the next few years.

It’s easy to save money in the short run by skimping on police, expanding class sizes, reducing maintenance on roads, parks and sewers. The true cost of those cuts (more crime, less skilled students, and a crummy city infrastructure) won’t be apparent for several years.

Cutting taxes is never easy. It may be that Guinta will find ways to both reduce our property taxes and continue offering the same level of services, but experience says different.

At the federal level, a Republican Congress and White House has been unable to cut taxes. They have simply borrowed from future taxes to reduce our tax load today. That is not a tax cut. At the state level Republican Governor Craig Benson was unable to reduce taxes with a Republican House and Senate. Even the creative Steve Vaillancourt couldn’t come up with any good ideas in his top ten list (on our Web site for those who want to read it www.hippopress.com).

Why is tax cutting so hard?

It’s because running the kind of government we citizens want (one that fights terrorism, one that gives health care to the poor, clears snow from streets and helps pay for college) costs huge amounts of money.

Politicians have been claiming for decades that they can cut taxes without cutting services by finding inefficiencies in government bureaucracy. None has been able to. The problem is not that these politicians are corrupt or come under the spell of those wily bureaucrats, but that great inefficiencies just aren’t there. It’s not as if voters just woke up to the pain of taxes. Voters have been pushing government to be as efficient as possible ever since there was representational government, and government has responded by keeping salaries below market average and paying as little for everything as it can.