GSFTC - Local Voters to Weigh In on Property Taxes on Town Ballots

CONCORD, March 10, 2008 – Voters from Acworth to Wolfboro will have a unique opportunity this week, at their town meetings, to take action on rising property taxes – by asking state lawmakers to do something about them.

The Fair Tax Resolution – on the warrant in 88 NH towns this spring -- is a non-binding statement that calls upon state lawmakers to alleviate unfair property taxes. Residents in these towns collected at least 25 signatures each in order to secure placement of the question on their local ballot.

If passed, the resolution calls upon State Representatives, Senators and the Governor, to begin a discussion toward finding a more fair way to raise revenue in New Hampshire and lower the property tax.

The property tax accounts for more than 60 percent of all state and local revenue in NH, double what that source provides in all other states, said Paul Henle, executive director of the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization working at the grassroots level to educate voters on the causes and effects of over reliance on the property tax. “Not only is the property tax unfair and burdensome to many in our communities, it’s a house of cards for the state to rely so heavily on one source of revenue to fund our needs,” he said.

Rather than suggest how state leaders should approach the problem of increasing property taxes, the resolution simply gives local voters the opportunity to open the door to communicating on this issue with their lawmakers.

“Many years of ‘the Pledge’ have elevated this election-year razzle-dazzle to gospel status in the Granite State, which has made it nearly impossible to even broach the topic of taxes – even between neighbors,” said Henle. “We have talked to people at forums, in churches, at Lions Clubs and other meetings who believe it’s time to ditch this dysfunctional system, but who fear being mislabeled as “tax and spenders,” so they remain silent. Passage of this resolution shows these folks they are not alone – by the time this is over, we’ll have had more than 2,500 individuals around the state sign a petition to place the article on a ballot – and thousands more who will vote to support the resolution.”

THE FAIR TAX RESOLUTION READS: Resolved: We the citizens of this town believe in a New Hampshire that is just and fair. The property tax has become unjust and unfair. State leaders who take a pledge for no new taxes perpetuate higher and higher property taxes. We call on our State Representatives, our State Senator and our Governor to reject the “Pledge,” have an open discussion covering all options, and adopt a revenue system that lowers property taxes.

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ABOUT THE GRANITE STATE FAIR TAX COALITION:

Launched in December 2006, the Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization comprised of partners that include the League of Women Voters NH, the NH Council of Churches, and other organizations and individuals working to educate NH residents on the causes and effects of rising property taxes. More information about the New Hampshire Fair Tax Coalition -- including a 25-minute video on the history of tax fairness in New Hampshire – can be found at the Coalition’s website, www.nhfairtax.org.

The Fair Tax Resolution will be voted on between March 11-18, 2008 in the following towns:

Acworth

Alstead

Ashland

Auburn

Barnstead

Bath

Bennington

Bradford

Brentwood

Bridgewater

Bristol

Brookline

Canaan

Canterbury

Charlestown

Chesterfield

Danbury

Deerfield

Dorchester

Durham

Easton

Enfield

Epsom

Exeter

Fitzwilliam

Gilford

Gilsum

Goffstown

Gorham

Grantham

Groton

Hampton

Haverhill

Hebron

Hill

Hollis

Hopkinton

Hudson

Jaffrey

Kensington

Langdon

Lempster

Lisbon

Lyndeborough

Madbury

Marlborough

Meredith

Mont Vernon

New Boston

New Ipswich

New London

Newbury

Newmarket

Northwood

Nottingham

Orange

Orford

Ossipee

Plymouth

Richmond

Rindge

Roxbury

Rumney

Salem

Sandwich

Stoddard

Sullivan

Sunapee

Surry

Tamworth

Temple

Thornton

Walpole

Warner

Washington

Waterville Valley

Weare

Webster

Wentworth

Wilmot

Wilton

Winchester

Wolfeboro

The towns of Chester, Conway, Hanover, Newport and Sanbornton will vote later this spring.