A lot has been made lately about the various Pledges that NH candidates are asked to take. One candidate has likened those that take these pledges to mindless zombies. It’s too bad that she doesn’t understand NH culture. Voters are interested in having us take pledges because they want to know that we not only have guiding principles, but that we’re willing to lay them out and go on the record. Let’s keep it real, a pledge doesn’t actually stop anyone from doing anything. It does add a consequence. If I go back on a pledge that I’ve made, the voters will hold me accountable. This doesn’t stop me from breaking a pledge. It does raise the threshold to a much higher level. If some unforeseen circumstance were to force me to break a pledge, I had better have a pretty good reason… that the voters will accept. Most of the pledges have to do with resisting tax increases and broad based taxes, like an income tax. Having these pledges makes it very hard to enact such a measure, but not impossible. I have to ask… shouldn’t it be really hard for us to raise your taxes in this economy? Shouldn’t it be really hard for us to impose a new financial burden on the people of NH? I think so. When people are afraid to take pledges like these, what they’re really saying is that they want it to be easy. I disagree with that philosophy and I believe that most voters also disagree.
Representative Steven Smith