I moved to New Hahmpshire 2-and-a-half years ago and I love it. The reason? It’s because of the places I lived before I came to the “Live Free or Die State.”
I was raised, and spent most of my adult life, in New York. Not “The City”, but northern NY, just off
the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. Lake effect snow country. Lots of snow! Most of my childhood, teen years
and early adulthood was pretty uneventful. I didn’t pay much attention to politics. When I turned 18 I voted for
Mario Cuomo for governor because my father said I should. As I got older I started to notice that it was
increasingly difficult to live life in The Empire state.
I inherited my parents home and got my first taste of paying property taxes. School taxes. Garbage taxes.
Water taxes. LOTS of taxes. It was then that I started paying attention. What was I getting for the dollars the
government was so eager to get from me? The answer was: not much.
I got my first thoughts of what it might be like if I lived somewhere else from my father-in-law. My wonderful
wife is originally from Western Massachusetts. On a visit there with her folks, her dad was complaining about
his property tax bill. (You know… Tax-achusettes). They were fairly well-to-do and lived in a log home in The
Berkshires valued at about a half-million dollars. His taxes were about 1/3 what I was paying on a home valued at about $65,000. His house was worth almost 8 times what mine was and I paid 3 times more in property taxes.
This was an eye-opener! I started paying more attention. I also decided I would never own property again.
Then there are the rules, regulations, laws… SO MANY RULES! It’s difficult to keep track of them all. The ONE
thing, the law passed that convinced me that I had to leave, had absolutely no effect on me personally. The state
legislature enacted a law that required homeowners with a pool to install an alarm that would sound if the
surface of the water was disturbed. The idea being, if a child was to accidentally fall into the pool, the alarm
would sound and the child could be saved before a tragedy could happen. It was “FOR THE CHILDREN!!”
Bullshit! It was so the manufacturers of pool alarms and the sellers of pools and pool supplies could make
money. Period. They lobbied hard for this and it was passed as a safety measure. “Don’t worry folks. Your
elected officials are watching out for your children and keeping them safe. You don’t need to bother being a good
parent. We’ll do it for you.” I didn’t own a pool, but it pissed me off anyway.
So, taking into consideration the horrible weather, the crushing tax burden and the overbearing laws, I decided it
was time to leave my home, my family and my friends and look for greener pastures. My wife & I moved to her
home turf, Western Massachusetts. Some things were better. Others worse. The net result was things were about
This was during the time of Romney-Care. Fortunately, I landed a job that offered fairly decent insurance. My
daughter, however, was not allowed to enroll in school until I could provide the school district with proof that I
had insurance coverage. Some foreshadowing of things to come.
One day we got a nasty letter from our car insurance company stating they were about to cancel our policy. Now,
we love our insurance company; the customer service had always been superior. Fast and friendly. Always quick,
with answers. No problems filing claims. So this was outside what we had come to expect from them. One
phone call to them for an explanation revealed it was not they who wanted to cancel the policy, but The
Commonwealth of Massachusetts demanded that I get a new driver’s license with “MA” on it because the one
with “NY” was not acceptable. Whatever.
Now, the NY DMV was a nightmare, but they cannot even compete with Massachusetts! (Oh… by the way… it’s
the RMV in MA… The Registry of Motor Vehicles. Sounds more Orwellian that way.) Based on my experience in NY, I got all the paperwork together, made sure it was filled out correctly and showed up at my local office with all of it and my three forms of ID (birth certificate, SS card & my NY license) to prove to the Commonwealth that I exist. The clerk took it all, processed everything and handed it back to me.
I said, “Wait. You didn’t give me all my stuff back. Where’s my driver’s license?”
“You can’t have that back.”
“WHAT? Why not?”
“You can’t have two driver’s licenses.”
“Because you can’t.”
“You’re only allowed to have one license. You’re getting a Massachusetts license, so I have to confiscate the old
one and destroy it.”
“But I PAID for that. It’s mine and I want it back.”
“You can’t. You have to have a license in your state of residence.”
“What if I own property in both states?” (I don’t, but it’s still a good question.)
“I guess it goes by whatever state you vote in.”
I wish I could show you the picture on my MA driver’s license. It tells this story better than any words I can use.
On the way home, I stopped at a store to buy some beer. I figured I’d earned it. When I got to the checkout, the
cashier (poor kid) asked for my ID. I was 45 years old at the time and had a good collection of gray hair, but The
Commonwealth requires ID. I said, “No problem! I just so happen to have my brand new Massachusetts driver’s
licenses. Here ya go.”
“I can’t accept this.”
She flipped the temporary license over and in big, bright red letters it said, “Not a valid form of ID”
I lost my mind. There was a scene. There was swearing. I’m sure the young lady was in fear for her life. A
manager came to the register and punched-in whatever code it took to over-ride the ID issue and make the crazy
man go away. The beer tasted great…
My daughter graduated from high school and went off to college, and my wife & I had had enough of the
oppression in Massachusetts, so it was off to another state. Connecticut.
I know… I know… sometimes it takes me a while to learn…
My wife and I landed terrific jobs at an outdoor education center. It was great. Free housing. Free food. Laid back
atmosphere. It was wonderful. BUT, it was in Connecticut.
If the NY DMV was a nightmare, and the MA RMV was worse, the CT DMV was like a story from a Steven
King novel! They have armed guards there and if any “customer” gets upset, loud, or confrontational in any way,
they cuff them and take them to DMV Jail. This allows the clerks to be absolute assholes, because if you try to
protest anything, off you go in handcuffs. Fortunately, our trips there were uneventful. Still scary, though…
All the same bullshit (taxes, rules, etc) as NY and MA was taking its toll and we decided it was time. Time to get
away from the bullshit. Time to live free or die.
My mind was set. THIS is where I want to live. My wife conceded and here we are. And I’ve never been happier.
There is a long list of Libertarian virtues of New Hampshire:
• No income tax.
• No sales tax.
• It is the only state with no seat belt law for adults.
• The only state that has banned automatic license plate readers.
• Car insurance is optional (unless you have a car loan, but that’s required by the lender, not the state.)
• The state representatives get paid $100 annually. Nope… no career politicians here. Elected officials
have to have a real job back home where their constituents live.
• Some funding is generated from the state-run liquor stores. Because the state sells liquor itself, there are
no excise taxes and no sales tax. The prices are very attractive. About 50% of all sales are from out-of
staters – people from MA, NY, CT, VT, ME. (heh…heh…heh…)
• Gasoline prices usually runs about 10 to 20 cents per gallon cheaper than the national average because of lower taxes.
• We just passed a Constitutional Carry law!
• We have the one of the lowest crime rates among the states.
• We have the lowest poverty rate.
• We rank in the top 10 for unemployment rate and median household income.
And the DMV?? NOTHING like I’m used to. The clerks are friendly and helpful. We actually purchase our registrations from the town clerk’s office. They collect the state and local fees together. We got a “temporary” 10-day inspection sticker for one of our cars because it needed some work to pass. We asked the town clerk if this was a problem for getting it registered. She said, “Oh, I don’t care about that. If you don’t have a valid inspection sticker, the police will give you a ticket.” In ALL the other places I lived a vehicle had to pass inspection BEFORE it could be registered.
When it was time to buy a new (used) car, I had some confusion. After the deal was made and the financing in
place, I asked the salesman how long it would be before he got the DVM work done. He looked at me like I was
from outer space… He said, “We don’t do DMV. YOU do.” It took me a couple of days to figure it out. All the
other states in which I lived collected sales tax. Not NH. So, there is no reason for the dealer to do the DMV
work because the state doesn’t require them to collect the tax for them. NICE! Also, the financing was only for
the price of the car. I didn’t have to include sales tax in my loan.
About once a year, I go back to my hometown in up-state NY. It’s depressing. There are SO many boarded-up
businesses and homes. Other people have had the same idea I had. That it’s better to leave than to stay. That’s
why the SUNY & CUNY systems are offering “free tuition” to residents with the caveat that they have to stay in
the state after graduation. Young people are leaving as soon as they can.
It’s not Detroit… yet… but it’s going that way.
So…. New Hampshire is my new home. And I love it.
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