Political Chowder Ingredients: Facts, Events, Policy, Politicians, Journalists, and YOU
Political Chowder Ingredients:
Facts, Events, Policy, Politicians, Journalists, and YOU

This Week's "You"
May 10, 2009
Letter to the Editor of the Nashua Telegraph

Time for income tax in New Hampshire

It is time to stop nibbling at the edges and put in a proper fix for our budgeting problems – an income tax.

New Hampshire has gone Democratic, just like Massachusetts, so we might as well start having the Massachusetts people who come into New Hampshire to work start helping to balance the books.

We don’t have to go to 5.3 percent like Massachusetts, but 1 percent would be a reasonable start. Here’s why.

The cigarette tax will not bring in anywhere near what is expected because it comes right on top of a federal 60-cent tax hike. Even though we will still be cheaper than the surrounding states, the combined tax hikes will force all but the most addicted to quit. Net result: less tax revenue for the state, not more.

Taxing capital gains, stock dividends and bank interest at 5 percent, after a 50 percent decrease in almost everyone’s savings over the past two years, is not only cynical, but it is a direct tax aimed at fixed-income seniors.

If the point is to keep them (soon to be us) from ever recovering, rather than having to go on to welfare when our savings run out, this is the way to do it.

The Legislature refuses to control speeding through fines that make sense and curtail red-light running with cameras, both of which would increase safety and revenue.

Instead, lawmakers propose a higher gas tax on everyone, whether you earn an income or not. This lets the bad performers off and penalizes those on a fixed income or, worse yet, out of work and looking for a new job.

Why not put some of this common sense stuff to a vote? Would you rather have the fine for doing 80 on Route 3, where the speed limit is 55, go up? Or would you like to have your gas tax go up? Would you rather have that (expletive) who just ran the red light have their picture taken and get a fine and have to go to court to explain how they were going too fast to stop? Or would you rather have your gas tax go up?

Net result: safer roads in New Hampshire, and we could fund all the highway projects we wanted until the bad drivers wised up.

Finally, a lot of us who lost our New Hampshire jobs now have to drive to work in Massachusetts and have to pay the 5.3 percent Massachusetts income tax. I personally would rather take credit for paying 1 percent income tax to New Hampshire and not give it to Massachusetts.

We never see the withholding from our paychecks. We see the gas tax and cigarette tax every week.

John Conway