by Ed Naile
Andru Volinsky, a candidate for NH governor, has a problem understanding how property taxes are paid in New Hampshire. He has lived here long enough to know that property taxes are paid at the local level and we have had, for several hundred years, Town Meetings where annual budgets are voted on by the citizens who pay their share – as our State Constitution demands.
But the Volinksy for governor signs say he wants to “cut property taxes.”
This makes me think Mr. Volinsky has a low opinion of NH voters and does not understand or respect our State Constitution.
New Hampshire taxpayers are protected by several parts of the State Constitution.
“[Art.] 12. [Protection and Taxation Reciprocal.] Every member of the community has a right to be protected by it, in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property; he is therefore bound to contribute his share in the expense of such protection, and to yield his personal service when necessary. But no part of a man’s property shall be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. Nor are the inhabitants of this State controllable by any other laws than those to which they, or their representative body, have given their consent. June 2, 1784”
“Shared” taxes in our state come in the form of property taxes where each piece of property is assessed for value and is responsible its share of the total annual budget. Property taxes are exquisitely scrutinized by voters who attend Annual Meetings. As is past spending. Our NH property taxing process bootstraps local officials into a process accountable to voters. This keeps New Hampshire out of deficit spending.
Once again, our State Constitution protects taxpayers.
“[Art.] 28. [Taxes, by Whom Levied.] No subsidy, charge, tax, impost, or duty, shall be established, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people, or their Representatives in the Legislature, or authority derived from that body. June 2, 1784”
But as a lead petitioner in the original “Claremont Suit” Mr. Volinksy wanted the courts to decide how New Hampshire, as a state, raised taxes for education, something not mentioned in our constitution because taxation for schools is a local decision. Mr. Volinsky was hoping for a broad-based tax where each person would pay a percent of their income to the State. Or he would settle for a sales tax, like Governor Shaheen did in 2001, where each person paid a randomly selected percent on top of every purchase in NH.
Neither one of these desires of Mr. Volinsky have anything to do with an annual budget. They are schemes to collect as much from taxpayers as possible where the taxpayers have no say in how their taxes are spent.
If Mr. Volinsky wants to cut property taxes, he should become a school superintendent. This is where most of our property taxes are spent – not in back room deals of each last minute “budget crisis” in Concord where extra money collected through broad-based taxes are always spent.
I understand the Mr. Volinsky is a social justice advocate – something in my opinion our state has in droves. Our next governor need only look at the State of New Hampshire Constitution for what we really need:
“[Art.] 38. [Social Virtues Inculcated.] A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, industry, frugality, and all the social virtues, are indispensably necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and good government; the people ought, therefore, to have a particular regard to all those principles in the choice of their officers and representatives, and they have a right to require of their lawgivers and magistrates, an exact and constant observance of them, in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of government. June 2, 1784”
Right there in the NH Constitution is the exact reason why someone who pretends a simple governor can cut property taxes and who also supports liberal judges setting funding for public education, not taxpayers, should never be elected governor of New Hampshire.