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December 29, 2013

Editorial: A look back at some of the big issues of 2013

(Continued)

“It’s a pity no one has the “courage” to tell these young people the truth: The politicians they so willingly serve are bankrupting their futures,” we wrote. “There is no free lunch. Someone, someday will have to pay for all the marvelous programs and initiatives purchased today with borrowed or squandered money. Guess who, kids!”

Fortunately, Patrick’s plan was too much even for the Democratic-controlled Legislature, which offered up a flawed $500 million tax hike of its own. One portion of the plan, an extension of the sales tax to computer software and services, was deemed so destructive to the economy that it was later repealed.

While this great tax debate was going on, state revenues were coming in well above expectations. The lesson: When picking the taxpayers’ pockets, too much is never enough for legislators.

Secrecy in government. We had a number of instances this year of government officials doing their level best to keep the public from knowing what they were up to.

In New Hampshire, officials remain tight-lipped about an on-going investigation into the Rockingham County Attorney’s office and County Attorney James Reams.

In November, Reams and two others in his office were placed on leave while state and federal authorities investigated “management and operational issues” in the office. Accusations arose that Reams mismanaged county funds and sexually harassed some of his female employees.

Reams has denied the charges and said in a court filing that he had been accused in the past but exonerated by the attorney general’s office.

A ruling on Ream’s request to be reinstated to his job is expected soon.

Information was not forthcoming from officials initially on Reams’ suspension. County residents were left with many questions regarding their chief prosecutor.

We wrote: “Reams’ duty is to prosecute fully those who violate the law. Now, he is being investigated for misdeeds of his own. It is important for the public to know and understand the nature of these allegations so they can judge for themselves whether the trust they have placed in Reams and his office is merited.”

Secrecy in government never serves the public interest. It reflects, in fact, a profound mistrust between those elected to public office and the people who elected them.

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