Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Election Thoughts

First, unless you missed every possible article or local blog posts, it's no secret that I didn't win the election for Selectman. I didn't even finish second. Not that I expected to. But it was my first time running for an elective office, so it isn't as if I thought I'd win. I've got to start somewhere.

Second, I have to ask this: What the heck were the townspeople thinking when they approved Warrant Article 27 (Anti-Tax Pledge)?

This was a deceptive article, asking a question that leads to another question, and yet another that will take the populace down a road they really don't want to travel. What road is that, you may ask?

Broadbased taxes.

There are a number of problems such taxes bring to every state that's imposed them, the first being is control of all the money collected goes to the legislature, and once they get a taste of that kind of money, frugality goes out the window. So does local control of funds.

People, do not assume the state will let you or our town see a single penny of that money. And even if we do, it will come with so many conditions and strings that control of our town will devolve to the state government by default. Think it won't happen? There is plenty of history to prove otherwise and none to support the supposition that it won't. Just look to our neighbors here in the Northeast.

Every state that's imposed broadbased taxes to help alleviate property tax burdens have found property taxes may go down for the first year or two, but then resume their climb. The taxpayers are now paying even more taxes, their wallets are emptier, and still there's no 'relief'. The most recent examples of this are Connecticut and New Jersey, with New Jersey receiving the most dramatic lesson.

New Jersey had many of the same problems we've been seeing in New Hampshire in regards to municipal spending and property tax revenues. Like New Hampshire, New Jersey's cities and towns funded a lot of their schools through local property taxes. But the costs kept going up and so did their property taxes. Then, a rescue.

The state legislature imposes an income tax to help fund education. Property taxes drop slightly the first year, level out the second year, and then start going up again the third year. The town didn't cut their spending. The state provided some education funds, but they came with a lot of strings. The cities and towns lost control of their schools and the taxpayers got stuck with the property tax bill and a new income tax. The net effect was a loss of disposable income, loss of control over the local schools, loss of fiscal restraint by the towns and cities, and a lot of anger on the part of the taxpayers. The anger is understandable. After all, they were lied to.

Will we suffer the same fate here? We will if buy the line that any other form of taxation will somehow be fairer and less onerous.

Taxes are always unfair. Taxes are always onerous. It's best we never forget that. But to trade one form of tax that allows local control for another tax that forces us to surrender that local control would be a mistake from which New Hampshire will never recover and will likely have an adverse effect on our economy because it will destroy the so-called New Hampshire Advantage. We will indeed have become nothing but a clone of Massachusetts or Vermont or Connecticut. And if you wish to see how well all their taxes are working for them all one needs to do is look at our economy versus theirs. That alone should be enough.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post!

People are worried about taxes and have been snookered by these GSFTC outsiders into thinking this is going to lower their taxes, when really all they want is centralization and expansion of government.

People are starting to catch on though, because if you check this forum, you'll see lots of victories all over NH:

The way to reduce taxes is NOT to add an income or a sales tax but to GET OUT TO YOUR TOWN AND SCHOOL MEETINGS and vote NO on excesses!

Chan Eddy said...

The people were sold a bill of goods. It's bait-and-switch at its worst.

I can honestly say I would have no problem with some form of broadbased tax under one condition: There would need to be a constitutional amendment to the state constitution that would remove all control of the taxes collect by the NH Legislature. The funds would be apportioned to each town or city based upon its population. No strings. No conditions.

But we must also be aware Legislature has already shown it will ignore the state constitution, raiding the highway funds to fund non-highway related spending. The state constitution forbids the use fo these funds for anything but the highways and teh agencies that support them (State Police/Highway Enforcement). I have no doubt that the Legislature would do likewise with income/sales tax revenues.