Senate Democrats Fight to Repeal New Hampshire’s Statewide Property Tax

For Immediate Release

Contact: Molly Cowan, Senate Democratic Policy Director 

Email: molly.cowan@leg.state.nh.us

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Senate Democrats Fight to Repeal New Hampshire’s Statewide Property Tax

CONCORD , NH – New Hampshire Senate Democrats today took to the Senate floor in a determined effort to force the repeal of the Republican supported statewide property tax.

Reminding the Senate Majority that they had promised to sunset the statewide property tax by the end of 2003, Senate Democrats challenged the Senate Republicans for refusing to eliminate the unpopular tax by voting down SB 315, legislation repealing the statewide enhanced property tax.

“Property taxes in the State of New Hampshire have skyrocketed since 1999. The statewide property tax was supposed to be a short term fix in 1999 while we looked for a reasonable solution to school funding,” said Senator Martha Fuller Clark, D-District 24. “Now the statewide property tax is nothing more than a sham and a scam on the people of New Hampshire. The statewide enhanced education tax is a local tax by another name, made more dangerous because as long as it’s on the books it can recreate donor/receiver towns anytime the Republican legislators needs more money.”

As proof that a statewide property tax is unnecessary, Senate Democrats pointed to Governor Lynch’s education funding plan passed by a majority in the Senate in June of 2005. Governor Lynch’s education plan targeted aid based on need while eliminating donor towns and the statewide property tax.

“To say we can't fund education without a statewide property tax is hogwash," stated Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, District 15. “In fact, Governor Lynch's education plan targeted aid based on need, elmininated donor towns, and eliminated the statewide property tax. Repealing this tax can be done, and was done well under the Governors plan, which was supported by a majority of Senators last session. This Republican love affair with high property taxes has blinded some to simple math. We don't need the statewide property tax to target aid to communities. We can repeal the statewide property tax and fund education fairly, without the addition of any new taxes."

"Let's get real with the property taxpayers of this state. The statewide property tax is a sham, a figleaf and a hoax," concluded Senator Larsen.

“This issue is really a smokescreen designed to hide the rising cost of New Hampshire’s property taxes - the end result of Republican policy,” said Senator Peter Burling, D-District 5. “Not a year ago, this Senate passed the Lynch plan which repealed the statewide property tax and funded public education adequately and fairly without new taxes. The statewide property tax serves no good purpose and it’s time we get rid of it.”