Last week, the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means held a two-day information session for its members and other interested legislators on the state’s revenue structure, its ability to finance public services, and its relationship with the state’s economy.
ITEP was one of three national organizations invited to participate and offered its views on the shortcomings of the current system. In particular, ITEP's Jeff McLynch discussed the consequences that New Hampshire’s imbalanced tax system has for both individual taxpayers and for the state’s budget. (The Granite State and Alaska are the only two states to levy neither a sales tax nor a broad-based income tax.) McLynch explained that adopting an income tax would help not only to mitigate the inequities that low- and moderate-income residents now face but also to address the state’s long-standing structural deficit.
The purpose of the session was straightforward enough. Legislators nationwide regularly meet to receive testimony from analysts and constituents alike on topics ranging from agriculture to zero-based budgeting. But some opponents of sound and fair taxation reacted as though it were one part of a much larger conspiracy, leading to a couple dozen protestors outside the session and a volley of press releases decrying the involvement of groups from outside the state in the days leading up to the event.
Indeed, as the Concord Monitor noted, “The committee was careful to ensure that the representatives of both sides of the issue had a chance to air their views. That didn't quiet critics who treat the state's unfair tax structure like previous generations treated suicide, cancer and divorce, something that should not be discussed in public. But silence allows ignorance to prevail and problems to worsen.”
To learn more about the various perspectives presented at the session, visit the Ways and Means Committee website.