This new legislature is interested in all kinds of things important to the average NH taxpayer, same sex marriage, smoking bans, seat belt laws, minimum wage, helium balloon fines, abortions for little girls, all the standard left wing stuff you would expect.
One of the hot issues they avoided is the “view tax”. The view tax is really a view assessment and is in fact a tax levied on certain property. This is a fact that the NH Assessing Standards Board would like to talk their way out of . But it is a fact.
How did it happen?
Simple: greed and the power of government.
Like in Massachusetts before us, the State of New Hampshire was desperate to have a uniform system of assessing property, so they got in bed with a large assessing firm. In this case a company named Avitar. The NH Assessing Standards Board, loaded with assessors and pro-government types, including the head of Avitar, allowed this company to have its way and practically write the assessing standards for our state.
Time caught up with them, as did the natural inclination of those in power to abuse their position– their un-elected positions.
I think, and its just my opinion from looking at this from the inside, that Avitar was trying to find a way to tax current use property and bring in more revenue for town officials that hired them to re-asses their municipalities. Avitar was quite a popular firm before this hit the fan. Other assessing firms were even using Avitar software (and screwing up their assessments as well: See the Emerald Lake District of Hillsboro for examples.)
Former Governor Mel Thomson’s son Tom got caught in the Avitar view tax. He has a barn assessed at about $3,500.00. It is an old barn with no electric, water, heat, or even foundation, if I remember correctly. It is the standard rubble rock-based wooden barn with a patchwork of roofing that farming in NH often uses as a base of operations.
His assessment for the “view” from this $3,500.00 barn is $100,000.00.
This means when Tom Thomson gets a tax bill for his $3,500.00 barn his bill includes the $100,000.00, making its assessment $103,500.00.
This is why we taxpayer activists like to call it a view tax. Because it is.
And of all the people in NH to get a tax like this on an almost worthless structure one is Tom Thomson, another is me.
My wife and I have 50 acres in Deering with fabulous views. One of those views is from my 10 foot by 20 foot sheep shed which is assessed by Avitar at about $600.00.
The view from the sheep shed is assessed at $80,000.00. (The view from our house alone is assessed by Avitar at $90,000.00.)
I appealed the sheep shed assessment on several grounds and will enjoy my day in Superior Court to watch Avitar explain this view tax.
Throughout NH, many older property owners with outbuildings and homes assessed with this corrupt method are not as fortunate as I am and are intimidated by the property tax appeal process where your opponents who wrote much of this law speak in vague terms and use mystical and often phony figures.
Our legislature could have solved this problem by taking some authority away from the un-elected boards that control property assessment in NH.
But they were too busy with their own special interests.
I don’t know if the little governor has dared take a position on this yet.