Despite Wimpy Candidates, Will Voters Choose a Sensible Tax Plan?
New Hampshire Candidates on Taxation
Last time we checked, no tax was politically popular. So what will the state of New Hampshire do to raise enough revenue to run its school system?
Here is a small excerpt from a state-by-state report by David Brunori, on tax issues. You can find the full article at www.tax.org
New Hampshire has long been one of the most interesting states with respect to tax policy. It has no statewide sales or general personal income tax. It relies heavily -- too heavily, many believe -- on business taxes. It is trying to comply with a court-ordered school financing equalization plan by using a politically unpopular statewide property tax. [The Progress Report interjects -- every other tax is even less popular, so the property tax is, relatively speaking, very popular!] By many accounts, New Hampshire needs to make changes to its public finance system. That conundrum is, of course, at the heart of this year's governor's race.
Two of the Democrats running favor adopting a statewide personal income tax as a means of financing education. State Sens. Mark Fernald and Beverly Hollingworth are both advocating an income tax to replace the statewide property tax. [The Progress Report interjects -- they want to take money from workers, in order to give a tax cut to out-of-state land speculators. Sounds like those candidates have pretty dim bulbs for advisors.] Calling for an income tax used to guarantee a trip to political obscurity. But that is no longer the case.
The other Democrat in the race for the democratic nomination is former state Rep. Jim Normand, who is opposed to both a statewide sales tax and a statewide income tax. Normand has said that he prefers to retain the statewide property tax rather than adopt other broad-based taxes. Normand also favors increasing the tax on cigarettes and expanding gambling in the state to raise additional funds, both positions opposed by his Democratic rivals.
On the Republican side, there is not much of a debate over taxes. [The Progress Report interjects -- if they don't offer solutions, even bad ones, then they are insulting the citizens of their state. Leaders are supposed to lead. These candidates sound more like craven cowards.] Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey's Web site quotes him as saying: "I'll fight to keep our state's tax burden low. I will veto an income tax. I will veto a sales tax. I will veto any net increase in state taxes, including business taxes."
Former state Sen. Bruce Keough is also running for the GOP nomination. His Web site says: "My philosophy on taxes is simple -- no income tax, no sales tax, no way. The lack of a sales or income tax has given New Hampshire an advantage over other states. Our economic future depends upon preserving that New Hampshire advantage. The Statewide Property Tax is a sham. We renamed local property taxes and pretend it's state funding. My plan will repeal the tax." I think that just about sums it up.
Having a good quality school system does not give you a higher income, and does not make more sales. But it does raise the value of sites served by the good schools. Better schools make land values go up. So what should be taxed to pay for the schools? Tell your recommendations for New Hampshire's voters:
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