Senate Republicans Vote to Kill Elimination of Statewide Property Tax Legislation

Molly Cowan

Senate Democratic Policy Director

CONCORD – Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) testified today during the Senate Finance Committee on SB 315, which would repeal the Enhanced Education Tax, formerly known as the statewide property tax, and would take effect in 2007. Senator Fuller Clark is the prime sponsor of SB 315.

Sen. Fuller Clark offered an amendment to the Finance Committee which would not change the way the state distributes education grants to local school districts.

The Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee voted this bill is inexpedient to legislate in committee, citing concerns that there would be a shortfall of money going to the state.

“Their concerns are unfounded,” Sen. Fuller Clark remarked after the vote. “The elimination of the statewide property tax would ensure that any ability of the state to return to a donor/receiver situation with regard to school funding will not occur in the future. It will effectively end the threat to communities that such a situation would be part of any future education funding plan.”

Of the $863 million in state aid for public education in Fiscal Year 2006, only $473 million is actual state revenue. This money is deposited into the state treasury and distributed to in the form of grants to local school districts. The $363 million that is raised by the enhanced education tax is actually raised by local taxes and is then spent locally.

“With the elimination of donor towns last session, the statewide property tax is merely window dressing and serves no legitimate function other than to artificially inflate the state’s overall commitment to funding an adequate education,” concluded Sen. Fuller Clark.