Monday, April 9, 2007

NH still low-tax: For now, at least

The following editorial appeared in the Union Leader. To learn more about keeping the New Hampshire Advantage visit the The New Hampshire Advantage Coalition

NH still low-tax: For now, at least

IN ITS LATEST ranking of state and local tax burdens, the non-profit Tax Foundation again ranked New Hampshire as having the second-lowest tax burden in the nation. But that favorable tax climate is in jeopardy.

Only Alaska has a lower tax burden than New Hampshire, but that is because Alaska gets proceeds from oil exploration. New Hampshire stands alone as the only state in the nation to keep its tax burden low purely through frugality. (And it stands, incidentally, between the two highest-tax states in the nation: Vermont and Maine.)

New Hampshire's frugality, however, is being challenged. The newly elected Democratic majority in the Legislature, along with the governor, is pushing huge tax and fee hikes this session despite sitting on a $46 million budget surplus.

Even worse, the Legislature does not seem interested in standing up to the state Supreme Court to avoid the broadbased tax that its education funding mandates will impose. On the contrary, legislators seem eager to have that revenue.

The Tax Foundation's study shows that the average state and local tax burden climbed to 11 percent of personal income this year, its highest point in 25 years. Granite Staters pay only 8 percent of their income in state and local taxes. That is a huge advantage, particularly over our high-tax neighbors. It not only encourages economic growth, but it leaves residents free to decide on their own how to spend more of the money they earn.

That freedom is the real New Hampshire Advantage. The current Legislature is quickly working to erase it.

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