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Author Topic: *Pros and Cons by the States*  (Read 12392 times)

Sean Coven

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*Pros and Cons by the States*
« on: August 18, 2003, 08:14:21 pm »

This is just a quick summing-up of arguments for all the states, in no particular order, for those who remain undecided (a tiny minority :)). This is by no means comprehensive, so if I'm missing some, feel free to add to it!

NEW HAMPSHIRE
PROS
--Already has the leanest government in the country.
--No income or sales tax.
--Small, multi-seat election districts.
--Vast majority of population already considered themselves "libertarian," including a number of state legislators.
--Governor of NH welcomed FSP, even going so far as to join as a Friend.
--Low dependence on federal government handouts.
--Most land is privately-owned.
--Weak gun control (given "D+" by Brady Bunch for 2002, though this value will likely drop to D- or F in light of two pro-gun bills recently signed by Gov. Benson).
--Allows for fusion candidacy, letting candidates run for office with nominations by two or more parties (Libertarian-Republican, for example).
--Among top five safest states in the country.

CONS
--Does not allow for initiatives and referenda (which can make reform more easily accomplished)
--Does not have term limits.
--Is not a right-to-work state.
--High land costs/property taxes.


WYOMING
PROS
--No income tax.
--Smallest population in the country (approx. 450k) allows for maximum saturation of libertarian activists.
--Right-to-work state.
--Initiatives and referenda allowed.
--Term limits.
--VERY weak gun control (given "F" by Brady Bunch for 2002).
--Only approx. 45-50% of population is actually born in-state (most citizens are from other states, meaning there will be less hostility towards newcomers).

CONS
--High dependence on federal gov't handouts.
--Almost half of state land is owned by federal government.
--Governor has been admittedly cold towards FSP.
--Population may lean more conservative than libertarian.
--Has sales tax.
--WY distributes info from CCW applications to federal government.


ALASKA
PROS
--Unlimited CCW.
--No income/sales tax.
--Allows for initiatives and referenda.
--Tremendously long coastline (good for economy), though it is long, rugged, and largely unserviced by roads.
--Not being part of contiguous 48 states makes autonomy possible.
--Aurora Borealis!!!
--Low population (approx 650k.) will allow for high saturation of FSP activists.
--VERY weak gun control (given "D-" by Brady Bunch for 2003, though this may drop to an "F" in light of the state's recent adoption of universal CCW).

CONS
--Very federal-dependent.
--Not a right-to-work state.
--Capital (Juneau) is isolated from rest of Alaska due to it's position; reachable only by plane, making organized protest and travel difficult.
--Alaska state legislature reputedly corrupt by big oil businesses (though evidence is hard to come by).

NOTE: I don't have any information regarding term limits in Alaska. If anybody here knows, let me know.


IDAHO
PROS
--VERY weak gun control (given an "F+" by Brady Bunch for 2002).
--Flourishing job market.
--Strong libertarian trends in government and populace.
--Low dependence on government aid.
--Initiatives and referenda allowed.
--Strong anti-federalist movements (due to crippling federal agriculture legislation).
--Temperate, enjoyable climate.
--Right-to-work state.

CONS
--Crippling taxes.
--Governor of Idaho has not been receptive at all to FSP, saying they would do beter in Montana.

(That's all for now... Pro's and Con's still need to be added for Montana, the Dakotas, Delaware, Vermont, and Maine. As I said earlier, feel free to add them!)

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2003, 08:37:50 pm »

Wow. There are so many pros for each state to make them all a good choice -- how is anyone going to decide how to vote? ;D
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johnadams

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2003, 09:08:18 pm »

Town Meetings

This seems like a good place for me question. How many states have town meetings?

Town meetings are a form of gov't where any individual can bring up issues that they feel are important and where a few activists will have far more influence much more quickly than in other forms of local government. In my experience, those town meetings work best where new issues can be raised on the floor and where attendance is required to vote because there is an incentive for people to attend them instead of just mailing their ballots in.

I imagine many of the states have town meetings because of their small size and many small towns. If all the states have them that might help explain why there has been so little discussion about them and it is not listed as a factor in the spreadsheet. Town meetings are one area that libertarians have had some success getting elected and giving input in Massachusetts.

Thanks in advance for the help of fellow patriots in this matter.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2003, 09:08:49 pm by johnadams »
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Sean Coven

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2003, 09:12:00 pm »

I don't believe states have the right to ban town meetings... if they do, I'm not moving there!

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2003, 10:06:07 pm »

I'm not sure I follow, S. Coven. Has one of the states threatened to ban town meetings or something?
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Michelle

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2003, 06:13:27 am »

Aren't town meeting unique to the Northeast?
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johnadams

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2003, 06:15:25 am »

I don't know for certain and I didn't want to make such assumptions and be accused of lying in favor of NH. I was hoping someone might know.
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Michelle

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2003, 06:59:10 am »

I believe that is true. Of the ten states, only New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine hold town meetings and have local government based at the town level.

Here is an excerpt of Keith Murphy's report covering this and other political accessibility factors:

Quote
In the western states and in Delaware, the primary form of local government is based on county jurisdictions. Within each county there may be incorporated areas that may enact their own ordinances, as long as they are in compliance with the laws of the state and county. The end result of this system is to have all citizens under a tiered system, with those living in municipalities suffering from an additional level.

The three New England states are different. While they have counties, they exist mostly as lines on the map. Most of the functions of local government are performed at the town level, and the majority of the land area in the states is incorporated. In general, courts are operated at the county level, but all other functions, from roads to police to fire service to schools, are administered at the town level. Issues are discussed at town meetings, giving each citizen an opportunity to speak his mind.

This form of government has several important advantages. First, it is the closest to the people, assuring that everyone in each town knows their elected town officials personally. Remember, most power rests in the hands of town officials instead of county officials administering vastly larger areas. Second, it provides citizens amazing control over the town budget. In New Hampshire, fifteen signatures is enough to place a budget item, called a "warrant," on the ballot for referendum. If you don't want that new high school, get fifteen signatures and vote it down. If you don't want the town to get a new garbage truck because you think trash collection should be privatized, get fifteen signatures and put it on the ballot. Many towns have less than 1,000 people, and some have less than 100. Hart's Location, NH, only has 37 residents. Each town is in control of all of its spending.

http://www.freestateproject.org/ExaminingPopulation.htm

Unless it has been added recently, town meetings are not a measure on the spreadsheet, but whether or not a state is organized in this way is going to play a large role in the way I cast my vote. The third paragraph quoted above says it all. :)
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Kelton

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2003, 08:41:14 am »

I believe that is true. Of the ten states, only New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine hold town meetings and have local government based at the town level.

This comes as a big surprise to me, what then, were those big public meetings with hundreds of people gathered in a crowded room at the city building that my grandfather used to take me to, held every month when I was a kid growing up in Utah?
 
I would have thought that a quick Internet search would have shown this to be otherwise.  Maybe not everyone in the west calls them town meetings, how about public meetings or city council meetings? or public hearings?

Several times on this forum I've referred to various local meetings that I have attended, even here in California.  I think a lot of assumptions are being made about the West that are not simply not correct.

People can choose to live in an unincorporated area of a county and be free of city ordinances.  Several neighbors can also work together and keep a city from incorporating their property into a city also.

Rather than looking at this city+county government system in the West as being some doubly-bad layer of jurisdiction, think of it rather as a more of a separation of powers.  The county has certain powers granted by the state, in fact, is usually the administrator of state law, while the city only has powers granted under its charter also by the state.


Where New England states seem to have this advantage is not in the town meeting itself, but with such things as warrant articles.  But indeed, they are a double-edged sword, just as we can use them to our advantage, so can the enemies of freedom.
 
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Michelle

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2003, 09:51:45 am »

Where New England states seem to have this advantage is not in the town meeting itself, but with such things as warrant articles.    

Yes, but that is the key, right? I don't mean to suggest that public meetings aren't held in other states. Of course they are. But, the New England states are structured differently. They retain local control to make important decisions through town meetings; it is a form of government that is truly close to the people.

Quote
But indeed, they are a double-edged sword, just as we can use them to our advantage, so can the enemies of freedom.

That could be true, but I find the idea of persuading my friends and neighbors to vote for small-government change must less daunting and more likely to be successful than a government based on county jurisdiction where most everything is administered by county officials representing much larger areas.
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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2003, 10:06:47 am »

For more information on how New England Town Meetings differ from the public meetings held elsewhere, I recommend the following link, which contains a summary of how they work and the rules of order for a typical town meeting.

http://www.newrules.org/gov/townmtg.html


The main difference, Exitus, in that in most New England towns the residents directly vote on the issues, whereas in most other public meetings the residents address elected representatives which then vote on the issues.

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Kelton

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2003, 10:40:41 am »

Maybe not everyone in the west calls them town meetings, how about public meetings or city council meetings? or public hearings?


But do the citizens actually vote?


No, but the elected officials usually voted the way that the biggest mob of people desired.  

From what I am reading by Keith Murphy, the mob itself is the one casting the votes. . .  

One is more of a pure democracy, the other a democratic republic.

-"In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason." --James Madison, The Federalist Number 55

Of course, it looks as if this relic of pure democracy is becoming limited as of late:
Quote
The system of New England town governance has been modified in a number of towns over the years in response to some of these criticisms as well as to growing populations. In the late nineteenth century, a number of towns established a finance committee to advise the town meeting. More recently, 51 towns have adopted a charter providing for a representative town meeting (RTM) in which voting on warrant articles is restricted to elected town meeting members. An additional 34 towns retain the town meeting only to appropriate funds. Thirty-five New Hampshire towns and eight Vermont towns hold only a deliberative town meeting, with voters subsequently going to the polls to vote on warrant articles by the Australian or official ballot.

Still, good.  I am looking forward to these democratic town meetings, if I am in a town where enough people are gathered to form a majority to support liberty.  



Please, be my guest, brag about how wonderful this is all you want, I'm still not really persuaded by this factor.

This is the problem we face repeatedly over such differing issues:

If we argue that one state has a superior mode of elections or representation or voting, we must acknowledge that it is also equally accessible to those who may oppose us.

If we argue that one state has superior autonomy issues due to a sea-coast, there are also confounding variables that would render any port there useless for our purposes.
If we argue that one state has superior autonomy issues with the federal lands issue, others will say that it is a quality negative and it should not be considered.

If we argue that our favorite state has a better Libertarian Party than another, someone else will say that the LP is irrelevant or even harmful, "Losertarians aren't as good as independents they will charge" or they will point to their own home-grown state specific party like in North Dakota or Alaska.

Some say that population is the most important factor, and our motley yet relatively small group is more capable of changing laws in a less-populated state, yet that argument is countered by the fact that the voter population actually does vote differently in different states, and in some higher population states, freedom is more accepted.

The only thing that I have seen that holds water in arguing which state is best, is in the composite culture variables.  Sure some say that the laws of a state are not determinate of what people really think, and others argue that actual enforcement is a factor, but I think it is safe to say that New Hampshire and Rhode Island are different because of what people have collectively supported and opposed in those states, and Nevada and California are different for more reasons having to do with people than a coastline.
In the composite culture variables, I have only seen 4 states shine, when thoroughly examined, and they are Alaska, Idaho, New Hampshire and Wyoming.

In the end, it is only going to be a large group of native liberty supporters who already reside in state that are going to assist us to success.  And as far as I am concerned, culture variables are the very best measure of the level of support we are going to find in our chosen state.    
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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2003, 09:52:03 pm »

exitus

At the risk of coming across as critical or negative, I would like to ask you if you can provide exactly which "culture" factors you included and what the numbers were for each state as well, and of course the totals that would permit you to say there are only four culturally suitable states for the FSP?

Like alot of us have had difficulty with the libertarianess of that Republican vote factor ?

As you have  already acknowledged your support for NH,  it might be advisable,  as you always have  done in the past, to provide details to your conclusion  regarding three western states and your favorite, NH

peter
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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2003, 09:38:34 am »

exitus

At the risk of coming across as critical or negative, I would like to ask you if you can provide exactly which "culture" factors you included and what the numbers were for each state as well, and of course the totals that would permit you to say there are only four culturally suitable states for the FSP?

Like alot of us have had difficulty with the libertarianess of that Republican vote factor ?

As you have  already acknowledged your support for NH,  it might be advisable,  as you always have  done in the past, to provide details to your conclusion  regarding three western states and your favorite, NH


So, don't like that RLC index, heh? ;D  O.K., it is biased, but it is not a measure of how Republican representatives are, it is a measure of how libertarian-leaning representatives are.  The index has flaws, but it is useful in comparing the certain willingness that a state's voters have in electing people who support more freedom over less.
here it is :
The Republican Liberty Caucus publishes an annual libertarian rating of all Congressmen and Senators.  The following list ranks the 50 states by average 2001 rating:
ID83.63
WY83.33
NH82.25
AK78.17
KS74.08
KY74.00
UT73.60
AZ72.75
OK72.06
NE72.00
AL70.17
VA66.15
MT65.67
CO64.00
TN63.95
SC63.38
MS62.64
GA58.96
IN58.46
LA57.94
OH57.71
IA55.79
PA55.07
TX54.70
MO52.95
NM52.50
NC52.18
AR52.08
FL51.82
NV49.88
IL47.02
WI43.91
MI43.53
CA42.11
ME41.50
SD41.00
CT39.25
OR37.79
WA37.27
DE36.83
MD36.15
NY36.09
NJ35.87
MN35.15
WV32.70
RI24.50
VT24.00
ND22.33
MA18.91
HI18.38

But I am not saying there are only 4 states that are viable, just that these 4 keep coming out ahead on the composite of all things considered, there is a trend.  While each state has its own unique best factor, when you run the spreadsheets only measuring culture variables and then consider all the other things, 4 states seem to have an advantage.

Look at some of these additional tables in this thread:
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=2933;start=15

I'll get back to more of your question on Monday. . .
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Dave Mincin

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Re:*Pros and Cons by the States*
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2003, 10:38:31 am »

As usual Exitus you present in a reasonable manner many of the issues we have been discussing on these forums.  Can any of us say for certain the answers to these question?  I wonder?

I can say that I am so excited about how far we have come, and how quickly.

Now we enter, at least in my opinion, our most critical stage.  Picking a state, and then reaching our goal of 20,000 porcupines.  Of course the move itself is perhaps the most important point of all, but I trust the porcupines will honor their word.

We must all keep in mind that the FSP is just a mechanism to get us all together, the rest will be up to us.  My concern is that so many have given so little thought to how we will actually create a Free State once our numbers are reach and begin the move.

Jason has already stated that once the election is over, the new president of the FSP will be from that state.  Well that makes sense, who better to promote the FSP than a local?  I see precious few locals from the candidate states active on these forum, except: :)  Perhaps they are working in other ways to support us?

It defies logic to think that we can succeed in any state without a strong, hard working, politically savvy group of porc's on the ground.  Let us not forget that the overwhelming majority of us will be moving, not really framiliar with the local scene, and at best will take us time to get the feel of our new home.  The local por's can be so helpful to us in adjusting, and learning how we can best help in our fight for Freedom.

Early on we will need local porc's to run for office, to teach us about the local customs, and I dare say be leaders!  I do understand that as porc's we tend to be rugged individuals, many even going so far as to say, "my way or the highway."

As for me, if following is what it takes, then I'm fine with it, so long as the road I follow leads to Freedom.  We must all realize the difficulty of our task, and that we must all, within the limits of our ablities, do whatever it takes, save dishonor.

Even her most vocal critics I believe will now concede that our porc's in NH have done a bang up job, spreading the word there, and gaining much needed support for us.  Again I can't speak for others, but they have convinced me that I will be welcome, and that they will have something for me to do, right away, day one.  Can we afford to wait?

I'm so hopeful that others will see, as I do, that the fight has already begun in New Hampshire, and she needs our support!
« Last Edit: September 17, 2003, 11:56:56 am by marshrobert1 »
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