Karen in the News
Testerman says state needs to back off
|September 6, 2010||Source: Union Leader|
MANCHESTER – Government has outgrown its constitutional intent, says Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Testerman, and needs to be reined in.
"I want to look at why government continues to grow," she said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. "State government needs to get off the backs of the state's businessmen and women and families. They are over-taxed and over-regulated."
Testerman, a 66-year-old Franklin resident, is the founder and former executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research and a longtime conservative activist who decided to run for governor because she says the last six years of Democratic control have turned the state "upside down economically and socially. We need real leadership and honesty and good, old-fashioned common sense."
Testerman proposes returning to the last state budget balanced without raising taxes and fees, and then using a "zero-based budget process" to reduce the size of government.
She said the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education now account for 60 percent of the state budget. She asks: What was the original constitutional intent and is it within the original parameters?
The federal government promised to pay 40 percent of special education costs, Testerman said, but pays less than 7 percent.
"Is it worth it to the people of New Hampshire to accept the federal money or say 'no thanks' and continue without the federal strings," she asked.
Testerman, a former teacher, opposes the federal No Child Left Behind Act, noting the number of failing school districts has grown from 15 to 60 in six years. She called the program federal overreaching and said the people closest to the problem are best able to determine the best solution.
As with businesses, government needs to get off the backs of families and parents, Testerman said. The family is the basic economic unit and building block of society. She said a Family Day could be held once a month for families to sit down and have a meal together, something research shows helps children stay away from sex, alcohol and drugs. Another day could celebrate marriages lasting over 50 years, without spending government money, she said.
The state's no-fault divorce laws need to be repealed and a waiting period established, as there is in France and England, she said. Parents should attend courses on the impact of their breakup on their children before they file for divorce -- not after, she said.
Testerman said every divorce costs the public $20,000 in New Hampshire, where there are 5,000 every year. If that is reduced by 10 to 50 percent, then there are fewer requirements on state agencies and "you start to build the structure of society and make it stronger in the long run."
State residents should be allowed to vote on the issue of gay marriage, she said, noting she supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Testerman wants to "rebuild a culture of life in New Hampshire," from the unborn to the elderly and disabled. She supports reinstating the state's parental consent law, which was found unconstitutional.
"The current laws have no respect for life," Testerman said. "Life is a right, not an issue. Life is a right granted to us by the creator, not by government."
She said jobs and education go hand in hand. The state is not producing students with the skill sets needed for today's jobs, and without an educated workforce, desirable companies such as high-tech firms will not come to the state, she said.
She wants to convene a group of experts to review how New Hampshire taxes business and then produce a proposal for a fair and less burdensome system. Testerman, who moved to New Hampshire in 1993, is married to a former U.S. Air Force pilot. They have four children and nine grandchildren. She has been active in a number of political campaigns, including the 1996 presidential candidacy of former Reagan administration official Gary Bauer.
GARRY RAYNO -