The Granite State Fair Tax Coalition is crowing about the passage, by roughly a two-to-one margin, of its anti-Pledge warrant
article (in Goffstown, it appeared as petition Article
25) in many communities across New Hampshire. When you stack the deck, though, your victory is nothing to boast about.
The article urged elected representatives to reject the state's famous no-broadbased taxes Pledge. It suggested that the Pledge was responsible for high property taxes, and rejecting it would lead to lower property taxes.
This is pure hogwash. History has shown very clearly that new broadbased taxes do not lower property taxes. The voters were sold a bill of goods.
Furthermore, the article offered no alternatives. It
didn't suggest a specific replacement for the property tax, such as a sales or income tax that voters could consider on its own merits.
And it intentionally offered only a vague, nice-sounding "revenue system that lowers property taxes."
Well, who is against that?
But Goffstown voters were not duped when the article was
presented at the 2008 Town Deliberative session.
This is petition Article 25 as it was originally worded:
"To see if the Town will vote to authorize the following resolution to be forwarded to our
State Representatives, our State Senator and our Governor:
Resolved: We the citizens of Goffstown, NH believe in a New Hampshire that is just and fair.
The property tax has become unjust and unfair. State leaders who take a pledge for no new taxes
perpetuate higher and higher property taxes. We call on our State Representatives, our State
Senator and our Governor to reject the “Pledge”, have an open discussion covering all options,
and adopt a revenue system that lowers property taxes."
Fortunately, those in attendance at the deliberative
session understood the underlying message (institute a
broadbased tax), and altered Article 25 to read as
"Shall the Town authorize the following resolution to be forwarded to our State Representatives, our State Senator and our Governor?
Resolved: We as citizens of Goffstown, NH call on our State Representatives, our State Senator and our Governor to have an open discussion covering all revenue
The real test of whether the people want a broadbased tax comes not from a warrant article carefully worded to get a positive response, but from the election returns whenever a candidate who has taken the Pledge faces one who hasn't. Those results speak for themselves, which is why the coalition has had to rig the race to get any results it can conceivably call a victory.
must keep the Pledge