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The Hidden Cost of Federal ARPA Funds: A Threat to New Hampshire's Sovereignty

In 2021, as New Hampshire eagerly accepted funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), I chose to abstain from the vote in Hampton. The decision was not an easy one, but it was a necessary stand for local sovereignty. As conservatives, we understand the importance of maintaining control over our own affairs and resisting undue federal influence. The conditions attached to these federal funds pose an unacceptable risk to our autonomy.

The Conditions of Federal Funding: An Unseen Threat

When ARPA funds were made available, they came with a set of terms and conditions. The very first term outlines the following requirements for recipients:

  1. Compliance with HHS Directives: Recipients must comply with existing and future directives and guidance from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the control of COVID-19.

  2. Provision of COVID-19 Patient Care: Recipients must provide COVID-19 patient care commensurate with the condition of the individual, regardless of the individual's home jurisdiction, and follow appropriate public health measures such as social distancing and home isolation.

  3. Assistance with Federal Orders: Recipients must assist the U.S. government in the implementation and enforcement of federal orders related to quarantine and isolation.

These conditions are not just administrative formalities; they represent a significant encroachment on local governance and decision-making.

Why This Matters: The Erosion of Local Sovereignty

The implications of these conditions are profound:

  1. Loss of Local Control: By agreeing to comply with HHS directives, local governments essentially cede control over public health measures to the federal government. This undermines the ability of local leaders to make decisions based on the specific needs and circumstances of their communities.

  2. Increased Federal Oversight: The requirement to assist in the enforcement of federal quarantine and isolation orders means that local authorities must prioritize federal mandates, which may not always align with local priorities or sensibilities.

  3. Fiscal Dependency: Accepting these funds creates a dependency on federal money, which can lead to a cycle of reliance and reduced fiscal independence. This dependency weakens our state’s ability to manage its own budget and respond to local needs without federal intervention.

The Conservative Stand: Defending Our Sovereignty

In a 2021 public Hampton, NH Selectmen meeting these conditions were discussed, concerns were met with silence from other board members and the town manager. This lack of response highlights a troubling willingness to accept federal money without fully considering the long-term implications for our local sovereignty.

As conservatives, it is our duty to uphold the principles of self-governance and local control. Here’s why this issue is critical:

  1. Preserving Autonomy: We must ensure that our local governments retain the authority to make decisions that best serve our communities, free from undue federal influence.

  2. Ensuring Accountability: Local officials are more accountable to their constituents than distant federal bureaucrats. Maintaining local control ensures that decisions reflect the will and needs of the people.

  3. Promoting Fiscal Responsibility: By resisting the lure of federal funds, we encourage responsible budgeting and financial independence, reducing the risk of future fiscal crises caused by dependency on federal aid.

The conditions attached to ARPA funding highlight the hidden costs of federal aid. While the financial relief might seem beneficial, it comes at the price of our autonomy and control. As New Hampshire citizens, we must be vigilant and resist any measures that threaten our sovereignty.

It is time for us to take a stand. We must advocate for our right to self-governance and demand that our leaders prioritize local control over easy money. Let’s ensure that New Hampshire remains a beacon of independence and liberty, true to its motto: "Live Free or Die."

Join us in this fight for our state’s sovereignty. Stand with us to protect New Hampshire’s future. SAY NO TO FEDERAL FUNDS.

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