In the May Beacon, Louise Andrus states that “ Republicans were sent to Concord with a directive to lower taxes and use the taxpayers’ money wisely”. The only problem is that, by all appearances, the Republicans lowered taxes for corporations and the wealthiest instead of for local property tax payers.
An important way the Legislature can lower property taxes is to reinstate the state sharing funds that have been removed in past budgets. For example, state share of retirement costs for police, firefighters, and teachers went from 35% to 0%; state revenue sharing from 35% to 0%; and room and meals tax sharing from a 1967 law stating 40% to 20% in fiscal 2020.
Louise Andrus and Natalie Wells voted against legislation that would have increased the state retirement contribution for teachers, police, and firemen from 0% to 5%. They voted for a state budget that reduces revenue that could have gone to towns and cities to restore state funding. This budget:
1. Gives $10 million to investors who got caught in a Ponzi scheme to help them defray costs of their bad decision. Three previous court decisions say these investors are not due funds due to risky investments.
2. Lowers the business taxes mainly paid by out-of-state corporations. These taxes have been lowered three times since 2016. The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute estimates that over 50% of taxes paid by businesses are in the form of property taxes, which will keep rising under the Republican budget proposal.
3. Phases out the taxes paid by those with enough wealth to have significant interest and dividends.
4. Lowers the room and meals tax by .5% paid mainly by tourists. This is a large loss of revenue for a tax decrease that amounts to about 5 cents on a $10 meal.
5. Cuts $100 million from the Department of Health and Human Services with no discussion or debate of consequences due to those service and staff cuts.
6. Adds SB130 — the education voucher bill from the Senate — to the budget and cuts state funding for public education. Reaching Higher New Hampshire and the New Hampshire School Fair Funding Project have detailed information on funding for public education.
The budget approved by the House of Representatives is now being reviewed by the Senate. From everything I see — the cuts in revenue and services and willingness to increase income to those who need it least — will increase property taxes.
There was a way to help both individuals and businesses by moving revenue to towns and cities to lower property taxes. This way was not taken.
For a summary of the entire House approved budget, visit nhfpi.org/resource/the-house-of-representatives-budget-proposal-for-state-fiscal-years-2022-and-2023/.