If you live in a blue state like I do, you are undoubtedly beaten down with rules and taxes; rules which make living more difficult and expensive and taxes and fees which only increase the financial burden.
As a native New Yorker, I’ve seen things go from bad to worse. Both my home city and state are good examples of a kleptocracy, where the state is run by people who are socially conservative and economically liberal and the city is run by people who are socially liberal and economically liberal, but not socially liberal in the sense that would allow for any kind of observance of civil rights. Government is as expansive and as expansive as you can imagine, except no liberal goals are actually being met. Modern-day liberal milestones like gay marriage and legalized medical marijuana do not exist here.
Rockerfeller Drug laws which mandate minimum sentencing requirements for even drug possession takes the power away from State judges and throw minorities into half-empty state prisons. These prisons were built years ago to create jobs for the rural and small town people who saw their manufacturing jobs go overseas in the 90s, at the expense of low-income people from New York City. The Republicans benefit from these prisons and the harsh drug laws because they’re creating jobs for their constituents while Democrats benefit from huge bribes from the correctional officers’ and public employees’ labor unions. It’s bipartisanship, New York style. Every budget gap is resolved by a tax hike, including proposing new taxes on such things as music and movie downloads (dubbed the iTax) and a tax on non-diet soda.
Despite being governed mostly by Democrats, New York City is not that much different than the statewide leadership which has a slight Democrat majority. Wal-Mart is not allowed within city limits; the Democrat-heavy City Council has repeatedly shot down various attempts by Wal-Mart to move into the Big Apple. Wal-Mart only exists just over the city’s borders in nearby Long Island, Westchester County, and New Jersey, ensuring that only New Yorkers who own automobiles are able to reap in the store’s famous savings.
And speaking of automobiles, did I mention why so many New Yorkers are forced to choose between owning a car and having a place to live? The fee for a New York driver’s license can range anywhere from $64 to $82, not to mention the additional $100 you will pay for the plates, registration, vehicle use fee for the privilege of driving in New York City. Then there are the $110 parking tickets, $350 for honking your horn in a residential area, and other smaller fees and taxes too numerous too mention. You don’t want to know what happens if your car is towed in this town for being illegally parked!
New Yorkers love to complain and I’m no exception, but even I’m getting sick and tired of being sick and tired. So I’m finally going to do what almost 2 million New Yorkers have done in the last 10 years.
Like Haiti, Zimbabwe, the former Soviet Union and many other totalitarian states, New York State and especially New York City has been experiencing a brain drain. The state’s upper and middle class has been leaving in droves, leaving behind millions of low-income families and immigrants, most of whom will be paying fewer tax dollars. Not good news for a state in a fiscal crisis. There’s even a name for us…tax refugees.
I’ve actually been picking my new home for over a year. My first choice immediately was a red state with a limited government and low taxes. After all, taxes are a big part of what makes New York so expensive. At first I was looking at Colorado, then Georgia or Florida, and finally Texas. Then I learned about the Free State Project, an organization of libertarians committed to making one particular state a model of limited government and free market ideals. I know, it’s scary right?
In 2005 the FSP picked their target state: New Hampshire. They picked New Hampshire because it already had a more limited government (in other words, a government that is committed to protecting the civil rights of its citizens, lightly regulating private businesses and not much else) than other states like Commiefornia or the People’s Republic of New York. New Hampshire was also favored because of its small population of 1.5 million, and one of the FSP’s goals is to have 20,000 freedom-loving people move there, creating a sizable voting bloc and political force that can keep the Free State free.
How is New Hampshire so free?
- Their state legislators are only paid $100 a year, ensuring that there are no career politicians (they haven’t had a salary hike since 1889!). Their low salary means they have to have jobs in the real world and that New Hampshire can afford to have a 400-member state legislature, resulting in a ratio of one state representative for every 3,000 residents. How’s that for representation and accountability?
- New Hampshire has no state personal income tax, no state sales tax (except on prepared food), no capital gains tax, no inventory tax and the second lowest corporate tax rate in the nation, so lots of jobs are being created in this part of the country as new businesses set up shop there and existing companies are less likely to move elsewhere or go out of business. Lass tax collecting (of state payroll and sales taxes) means businesses have more time and resources to focus on running their businesses…and maintaining New Hampshire’s sexy 7% unemployment rate. New York City’s unemployment rate, by the way, is close to 11%, well above the national average.
- With low registration fees, cheap parking tickets, low state taxes on gas and insurance being optional, New Hampshire is actually the cheapest place to own a car.
- Medical marijuana is not yet legal in New Hampshire, but this may be because there is a movement to push for full decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana. Gay marriage, however, is. None of that half-assed civil partnership-domestic union b.s.
- It is illegal in New Hampshire to use eminent domain for private development. However, it is totally legal to not wear a seat belt in a car or wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle.
I could go on and on about how free New Hampshire is in comparison to my home state. Sometime in the next month or so my fiancee and I will be making the move to a freer, less expensive state. I feel like a battered wife leaving an abusive relationship. I haven’t had much time to blog because I’ve been busy making trips to Manchester and packing my possessions, I will keep you posted as I make the move to freedom.