CACR 13: Putting New Hampshire in a Financial Straightjacket

Photo by Joseph Sawicki

On election day Granite Staters will not only choose who will lead us for the next few years, we will also vote on proposed changes to the New Hampshire Constitution.

One of those changes, CACR 13, would put our state into a financial straightjacket.

Right now, New Hampshire has a “crazy-quilt” approach to funding state government.

  • Business taxes account for almost one-third of the revenue necessary to run our state government.  New Hampshire has a business profits tax and a business enterprise tax.  We tax health care facilities and utilities.  Another 2% of state revenues come from a court settlement with tobacco companies.
  • So-called “sin taxes” and gambling revenue account for one-fifth of the state budget.  Between the tobacco tax, the beer tax, and transfers from the Liquor Commission, the Lottery Commission and the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, almost $450 million in annual revenues comes from sources that the “religious right” would condemn as immoral.
  • Property taxes don’t just fund local governments – they also account for a whopping 16% of state revenues.
  • Then there are so-called “consumption taxes”.  Taxes on meals and lodging are 11% of revenues.  Then we have taxes on insurance policies, telecommunications services, utility consumption, and real estate transfers.  Taxes on dividends and securities revenue.  Court fees.  Fees to register your car, boat, snowmobile, trailer.  License fees.  Transaction fees.  It seems like every time you turn around, there’s another small tax or large fee.

It’s the “crazy-quilt” to funding state government: New Hampshire raises revenue just about every way possible except by taxing wage income or retail sales.

Is that really the best way to fund state government?

And even if we decide it’s how WE want to fund state government… do we really have the right to decide for future generations how THEY are going to fund New Hampshire’s government?

If we change the state Constitution to eliminate any possibility of an income tax – at any time in the future – we would be putting a financial straightjacket on the state’s revenue system.

We’ve been dealing with nickel-and-dime fee-hikes and tax hikes for decades now.  CACR 13 would enshrine that “crazy-quilt” funding method in the state Constitution forever.

What moral right do we have, to tie the hands of future generations?

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