The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, located in New Hampshire, describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan, independent think tank focused on state and local public policy issues that affect the quality of life for New Hampshire’s citizens.”
It also claims that it “…has as its core beliefs individual freedom and responsibility, limited and accountable government, and an appreciation of the role of the free enterprise system.”
It now appears as if the above statement is actually untrue, and that the organization is promoting just the opposite of “limited and accountable government”.
Ever since 10-30-2019 when the Governor announced his bi-partisan plan to put the state in charge of solving what is largely seen as a manufactured “housing crisis”, he has received some considerable blowback. Critics who have studied the plan and the accompanying pieces of proposed legislation (HB 1632 and HB 1629) have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than an egregious and unconstitutional attempt to usurp local control. Many suspect it would simply help line the pockets of developers without regard to the tax burden borne by the middle class. Does the Governor agree with lobbyists from private outside groups that our town, in its current state, is not “livable”?
Sadly his plan is a carbon-copy of what is being promoted everywhere, with the same excuses being used to convince towns across the nation to “urbanize”. The roots of this philosophy are based on an internationally-bred movement to redistribute the wealth and create a network of global mega-cities. The problem? Most towns do not want to participate. (The developers involved have only one philosophy which is profits.) Previous immunity to this type of federal interference has given NH its “advantage”. Interestingly, Bedford has become one of its earliest targets.
As a result, even though many across the state agree this plan would not be appropriate for New Hampshire, the Governor took to publicly mocking the town of Bedford at a recent housing forum which took place on 12-11-2019 at St. Anselms College.
The town of Bedford responded (article is behind a paywall). In particular, those asked for comment were some of the residents, and town officials who refuted many of the Governor’s claims about the lack of housing. “It is a shame that Bedford residents and the hard-working employee and volunteer officials have become the target of some ill-informed comments on the part of the governor,” Duschatko said. (Bill Duschatko is the current Chairman of the Bedford Town Council)
The BRA also responded with a letter sent to the Union Leader upon request for comments, and has published it here. (There are other updates in the sidebar to the right of this article.)
The Josiah Bartlett Center has now chimed in, claiming that “government interference” is the hindrance to “affordable housing”, but in the same breath, praises the Governor’s plan to allow the State to mandate housing, suggesting more “government interference”, as the solution.
The Governor knows his plan is unpopular but perhaps has not heard enough. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that this is exactly what happened during the Bolshevik revolution, and we know how that turned out…
As we have mentioned before, this is the slippery slope to other mandates. Towns and cities in other states have already begun banning single-family zoning, or banning the replacement of homes that were burned out by fire or washed away in a storm. The director of HUD, Ben Carson, a supposed conservative, fully approves of the ban on single-family zoning.
– It’s not the state’s business to manipulate the laws to attract certain demographic groups to the area.
– It’s not the state’s business to manipulate the laws to mandate what types of housing can or cannot be built, especially if an established town does not want it.
– It’s not the state’s business to insure that people are guaranteed a place to live where they can walk to work. (What’s next, a plan to help us buy a car if we have to commute, which is the reality for most people? We seriously doubt it.)
– It’s not the state’s business to guarantee that developers can build whatever they want, wherever they want.
Remind the Governor that central planning and regionalism, directed and influenced by unelected, unaccountable private groups, reeks of cronyism, is socialistic, and likely unconstitutional. It is not the “NH Way”.
Who would ever have imagined that a Republican Governor would promote such a program, or that a supposedly conservative “think tank” would go along with it — a plan which eventually would lead to the slippery slope of government-managed housing, and a potential series of developments which could literally help lead to eliminating the middle class.
Editor’s Note: We would like to clarify the misconception that the government takeover of housing would help NH’s “homeless” problem. The BRA works with a prominent charity which feeds and distributes clothing to the homeless. These unfortunate people are mostly substance abusers who do not hold jobs. Most of them would NOT be able to afford the cost of even the least expensive rental unit being proposed.