Carla Howell, of the Committee for Small Government, who put both the 2002 question and the current tax measure on the ballot, said it would finally force state lawmakers to cut waste and inefficiency from state spending.
"It is normal to find waste in just about every government budget," Howell said.
Normal? Well, it's certainly not extraordinary to find a little waste here and there. However, the average town has pared its budget down to nearly nothing at this point. The state's done a lot of paring, too.
But all of that's missing the point. If people want to debate whether or not there's a lot of waste in the government, it's the losing discussion - no matter the answer. It's allowing Carla Howell and her allies to dictate the parameters of the debate. It's the kind of discussion that could enable this to be a fiercely close ballot question.
Here's the better question: if Carla Howell maintains that there's waste in "just about every government budget," why does she think there will cease to be waste by cutting the income tax? If there will always be waste in budgets, that's not going to suddenly stop after the income tax stops. Do New Hampshire voters think they're free of waste, since they have no income tax? Or Texas?
The truth is this question isn't about waste, it's about people who just don't want to pay taxes on their income. That's it. If this question was truly about waste, we'd be voting to create citizen panels who could axe waste from the budget and override the legislature - or something along those lines. The truth of the matter is that people like Carla Howell think spending their money on roads, schools and bridges is wasteful.
If she truly cared about government waste, she wouldn't force this stupid ballot question on us - a question that will cost this state hundreds of thousands just to put on the ballot, only to lose one way or the other. In fact, Carla Howell is a waste. For all that is holy, I wish she'd stop wasting this state's time and energy.