GSFTC - CORRECTION: Ten Towns Vote to Get Rid of 'the Pledge,' Find Alternatives to Property Taxes

Farmington's town moderator emailed me this morning to let me know that the Fair Tax Resolution did not pass there. Only about 80 people were left in the room of 500 by 12:30 PM when the article was taken up. It was the only non-SB2 town where the resolution was brought this year. I got contradictory information from somebody in the town offices yesterday. To our credit, the release we sent yesterday did list the results as unofficial. Nevertheless, we are sorry for the error. Ten out of eleven towns is very respectable, though.

Ten Towns Vote to Get Rid of ‘the Pledge,’ Find Alternatives to Property Taxes
Strong Message to Governor and Legislature Repeated in 2009

Kingston, NH (March 11, 2009) –Voters in ten NH towns passed a warrant article on Tuesday instructing state lawmakers to end ‘the Pledge’ and look for alternatives to ever-increasing property taxes. The non-binding “Fair Tax Resolution” received 74% of the vote and will result in a letter being sent to the Governor and state legislators, representing Allenstown; Claremont; Kingston; Lebanon; Littleton; New Hampton; North Hampton; Pelham, Rye, and Swanzey.

Kingston was just one of ten municipalities around the state that voted for the Fair Tax Resolution this year, adding to the 72 communities across the state that passed the measure in 2007 and 2008. Seventy-three percent of the towns that have taken up the resolution have passed it.

“This should resonate as a loud call to our leaders for exploring all options to reduce New Hampshire's second-highest-in-the-nation property taxes. We must put a stop to the endless increases to the Property Tax that have become an unfair, unjust Granite State way of doing business,” said Rev. William Exner of Goffstown, president of the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition.

“It is not just the elderly, but single parents and young graduates who are unable to pay their property taxes. We need to find a new way of making sure that everybody pays their share, which is actually written in the New Hampshire Constitution,” said Alexander Lee, the field organizer for the Coalition.

A recent Granite Status poll by Andrew Smith of the UNH Survey Center found that only 3% of voters state-wide believe that an increase in the property tax is the proper way to deal with the state’s funding shortfalls. Many more are open to exploring other revenue options because they understand that taking 'the Pledge' guarantees ever-higher property taxes, by ruling out every alternative.

The warrant article says, “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 Senators and our Governor to reject the “Pledge,” have an open discussion covering all options, and adopt a revenue system that lowers property taxes.”

Results (some unofficial results may be included)

Town For Against
Allenstown 469 151
Claremont* 1066 305
Kingston 1029 301
Lebanon* 1903 601
Littleton 1187 340
New Hampton 224 108
North Hampton 491 256
Pelham 1844 818
Rye 621 243
Swanzey 637 175
9471 (74%) 3298