Proposal or not NH is facing a big deficit and are going to raise taxes to solve the problem.
This is our new governor...http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/08022002/news/16986.htm
PORTSMOUTH - Rye Republican Craig Benson is predicting a state budget surplus by the end of fiscal year 2005, if New Hampshire voters choose him and his "Common Sense Plan."
That’s how he plans to relieve donor communities like Portsmouth from what he calls an "onerous" statewide property tax.
Unlike his Democratic opponents, Benson does not believe New Hampshire needs an income tax. The statewide property tax, among other revenue streams, can provide all the money the state needs, he says.
Benson also aims to cut the statewide property tax rate by 10 percent for the 2004-2005 biennial budget.
The statewide property tax is costing the city of Portsmouth millions of dollars each year in money sent to the state government and redistributed to other communities. The state property tax on a $250,000 home is about $1,400 but about $1,000 of that stays in Portsmouth to pay for city schools. Out of a total property tax of $5,000, about $2,500 pays for local schools.
If Benson’s plan were in place today, the same $250,000 home would receive a property tax bill of $4,850. So the tax scheme most Portsmouth residents face today would barely change under Benson. Cutting the statewide property tax by 10 percent reduces the city tax rate by about 60 cents.
For elderly residents, Benson would cap the total property tax at no more than 8 percent of their income. A person 65 and up living in that $250,000 home would pay the full $4,850 only if they were collecting more than $60,625 in annual income. Benson is toying with an elderly tax cap as low as 6 percent.
"The Common Sense Plan will target additional state aid to those students that need it the most," states Benson’s campaign literature. "Until we can be rid of this tax once and for all, the plan will at the very least seek to lower the onerous statewide property tax to provide relief for all New Hampshire residents."
As governor, Benson says he would advocate for a constitutional amendment eliminating the donor-town distinction. He would then organize a constitutional convention and let the voters decide how to pay for their schools.
"It’s time to give the voters a chance to shape their state as they see fit," reads the campaign literature.
In the meantime, Benson says making better use of technology and capping the state’s budget growth at 3 percent will create enough budget surplus - $50 million by 2005 - to end the practice of some towns donating part of their property taxes to other towns.
Operating online will be a big source of savings for state employees.
"We’re really, really far behind," says Benson spokeswoman Kate Whitman. "Pennsylvania and California are just doing some really amazing things online."