Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What a Great Idea

We stopped having the Eagle Times delivered right about the time of the first snowfall. We live on a pretty steep hill and our driveway can also be pretty slippery in the winter. I have fallen a number of times getting the mail. In fact the mailbox was difficult even for the mailman to get to so the mailman requested our mailbox be moved into our driveway because the road we live on is steep and the edge of the road changes so dramatically with the weather. But I digress, because it was difficult to get to the newspaper delivery box, I cancelled the Eagle Times for the winter. Initially we received the Argus Champion but sadly that ceased publication. Again I digress.

So for the first time in a long time this morning I went to the Eagle Times and saw the following article. What joy a delicious cup of coffee and officials actually using their brains. Our Founding Fathers would be happy to see this turn of events. I have to admit it was a shocker especially since it came from Claremont home of those dreadful people who sued over an "adequate education." Anyone with a lick of sense knows it was about getting more money for the tax-eaters who refuse to be accountable for actually educating our children.


Volunteer tax credit proposed

Would reduce property taxes for some

By BEN BULKELEY, Staff Writer
Monday, January 05, 2009 7:59 PM

CLAREMONT -- Mirroring what some towns in Massachusetts have done to get more volunteers in city departments, State representative John Cloutier, D-Claremont, wants to propose legislation that would allow senior citizens to get a credit for their property tax bills if they volunteer their time in the city.

The bill is currently a Legislative Service Request (LSR), which is a request to draft a bill.

"I submitted this proposed legislation after doing some research on the idea, which was first proposed to me by Mayor Deborah Cutts a year ago," said Cloutier. "Mayor Cutts said she heard of a program in Mass. that gave senior citizens some property tax relief in exchange for community service."

If it becomes law, it would allow seniors over the age of 60 to receive a credit up to $750 if they volunteered for one of the city departments.

"I requested that the legislature's research division check out the program, and they confirmed that there was such a program in Mass.," said Cloutier. "Over the past year I became more interested in this program, and believed it was worth serious consideration in New Hampshire."

Mayor Cutts said that by using the tax credit in exchange for volunteers, Claremont would ultimately benefit.

"This is a win-win opportunity. I believe we have a segment of our population that frequently volunteers-- typically parents or folks very dedicated to culture or arts," said Cutts. "Volunteering for these groups comes easy-- it's part of our daily life and culture and it satisfies some of our needs."

Cloutier said that the towns that wished to participate in the program would be able to decide how it would be implemented.

"If the program were to become law it would be up to local communities to decide whether to participate," Cloutier said. "The city council would have to vote to participate in the case of Claremont, and town meetings would vote on whether communities like Unity and Lempster would participate, in my district's case."

Cutts said that the program could target members of the community who wouldn't normally volunteer.

"I also believe we have a segment of our population that isn't as involved in community activities as they could be," said Cutts, referring to senior citizens. "Reasons include lack of transportation, limited belief that they could really make a difference, belief they are of the old school and that nobody really wants them, fear, lack of incentive.

"I hear this when I visit and talk with folks around town and I hear it when I talk with younger folks about their parents, aunts and uncles," said Cutts. "The biggest sore point in Claremont is property taxes-- if we can offer an opportunity to reduce your taxes and help share your value in your community-- what a great mix."

Cloutier said that the program could be used in a different number of ways.

"Ideally I envision the local communities having broad leeway within certain established limits (such as the legislation's proposed maximum amount of tax relief of $750 for citizens over age 60) on which municipal departments would use volunteers, for which jobs, and for what amount of time," said Cloutier.

"As a Claremont citizen I think we might be able to use volunteers in such areas as transfer station and recycling center, Fiske Library, Goodwin Community Center, and the Visitors Center, among other examples," he said.

The visitor center was one of the locations Cutts described as having a need for volunteers.

"I'm not positive at this point but one opportunity that came to mind was our visitor center," said Cutts. "We would love to staff the visitor center but staffing won't allow that right now. I think there are Claremont senior citizens that would love an opportunity to volunteer staffing our visitor center simply because it would be fun. If they could get a tax break, even better."

No time or date has been scheduled for the LSR, Cloutier said.

Cutts added that the program could have other benefits.

"I do believe that many of our senior citizens would become more involved and share their help and expertise because that is one of the ways we teach them to stay healthy," said Cutts, adding that the incentive of a tax credit would entice more people to participate.

"We are really trying to get enabling legislation versus implementing this right away in Claremont," said Cutts. "We are trying to make the opportunity available. As I always say... build it and they will come."

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at (603) 543-3100 ext. 105, or by e-mail at bbulkeley@eagletimes.com

Thought of the day - Liberal Fascism at its best. NBC cuts Coulter; Keeps Perez. Gee I thought this was America.

1 comment:

Webmaster said...

Re the volunteering for tax cuts, where can I sign up?

As for Coulter -- media are whores...they are no longer journalists.