Goffstown Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility
Several years ago, a small group of like-minded, fiscally conservative Goffstown residents got together to discuss ways to keep Goffstown property taxes from escalating. Their concern was that property taxes kept climbing and that was a problem for a segment of Goffstown residents.
This group of concerned Goffstown residents decided to keep meeting and form an organization. Goffstown Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (GCFR) was the result of that collaboration. After much discussion it was agreed that the following organizational mission statement reflected the desires of all the members, “To ensure the citizens of Goffstown receive accurate and unbiased facts about our local government's budgets, contracts and spending; and to propose and rally voters to alternative solutions that enable our local governments to operate sensibly and without undue financial burden to taxpayers.” Go and checkout the GCFR website for more details.
A website (GCFRonline.org) was developed for GCFR by Bill Wynne (GoffstownToday.com) to present all the data, town and school contracts and the proposed alternative solutions for the town’s consideration and discussion. GCFR members then analyzed and ranked viable solutions to the problem of ever increasing budgets in the schools and town departments ranked as follows:
1. Get out the vote drive (GOTV)- 1,000 voters to deliberative sessions
2. 10% budget reduction strategy- Lower property taxes by 10%
3. Eliminate Evergreen Clause- Negotiate “in good faith” all new union contracts
4. “No new spending” initiatives- Keep the line on all new spending
5. CBA’s- Because of new union contracts the “binding contractual agreement” won’t apply
6. New members to GCFR- Replace inactive members
7. Back room policy- Get key people into “governing body” positions
8. Default budget preparation- The budget committee should prepare the default budget.
9. School deliberative session location- Move to a “neutral” location
10. Lobby State Representatives to initiate policy bills- Need help from Concord, NH
11. Connect with NH Taxpayers Association- Don’t “reinvent the wheel”
12. Different tax structure- A more progressive tax after the property tax is capped
13. SAU #19 budget preparation- Some degree of Budget Committee control
14. School Board year-end spending spree- Return surpluses to the taxpayers
The above action items all seemed reasonable (and still seem reasonable) and in the first year there were some successes. The second year was much more difficult for some very strange reasons.
The top priority item from the above list was the “get out the voters” (GOTV) to the town and school deliberative and voting sessions. In that GOTV effort, GCFR was totally “blindsided” by the former leadership of the local Republican Party, which refused to provide any support!
When pressed for details, the former Republican town leadership replied that there would never be any Republican support for GCFR because Bill Wynne was a member… it seemed like a personal vendetta to this writer…a vendetta which this writer has also experienced from the Republican Party town and county leadership. Where are the fiscal conservatives? Are the local Republicans all RINOs? The future doesn’t seem very promising locally for trying to control spending.
Goffstown is a Republican controlled town. GCFR has essentially disbanded. The unions are busy organizing effectively as usual. Better get out the checkbook for possibly higher property taxes.
Editors note: Pam Manney was Chair of the Goffstown Weare Republican Committee during this period of time. And Read more on the"BIG SPENDER" Selectman Scott Gross.