Reforming New Hampshire’s Business Taxes

While New Hampshire has a low overall tax burden relative to other States, its business taxes are among the highest.  The Tax Foundation, for example, ranks New Hampshire seventh overall in terms of business tax climate, but just 46th when only business taxes are considered.  New Hampshire’s seventh-place ranking is the result of the absence of a general individual income tax and a general sales tax. Continue reading

The “Downshifting” Canard

Running in today’s Concord Monitor is an opinion piece by Representative Steve Shurtleff titled “The season of downshifting.”

Essentially, Shurtleff argues that there should be a greater utilization of State tax revenues to pay for local spending in order to keep local property taxes from rising:

In New Hampshire, funding for schools and local government comes primarily from two sources: state aid and the property tax. When state aid is reduced, or not maintained at a level to match living expenses, the only way for municipalities to maintain obligations is to increase the property tax.

According to Shurtleff, State tax revenues are basically free money because they are paid by businesses and “out-of-staters”:

Municipal taxes are borne exclusively by property owners, whereas state taxes assess moneys from businesses and out-of-staters.

Shurtleff’s “free money” pitch raises an obvious question: if State tax revenues are “free money”, then why isn’t Shurtleff suggesting doing away with municipal taxes altogether and funding schools and local government exclusively with State taxes? Continue reading

More Establishment Spin on the GOP’s Same-But-(Just a Wee Bit)-Less Budget “Compromise”

The Union Leader editorializes today that the budget “compromise” entered into by the GOP’s legislative “leaders” and subsequently approved by the rank-and-file –unanimously in the Senate and by a majority in the House– is a “huge” victory for conservatives:

Conservatives achieved a huge and long-sought political victory in Concord on Wednesday, despite the best efforts of a large group of…conservatives.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has a lot of caucuses, which are groups of legislators who join together to advance certain causes. One should be called the Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good Caucus. It almost derailed one of the right’s biggest recent policy victories, the reduction of state business tax rates.

The state budget passed in June contained small but important business tax cuts. They would bring business tax rates below those in Massachusetts. Currently New Hampshire businesses pay a higher corporate income tax than their counterparts in “Taxachussetts” do.

Nowhere mentioned in the Union Leader’s editorial is that the budget that the Legislature passed that became the basis of the compromise increases spending over six percent over the two year budget cycle.  The current inflation rate –inflation for the 12 months ended August, 2015– is .2 percent.  Note the decimal point.  That’s .2 percent not two percent.

That’s a “huge victory” for conservatives? Continue reading

Not Much Point in Voting Republican in New Hampshire Any Longer

Yesterday finally put an end to New Hampshire’s budget drama.  And the end result is such that one can legitimately say that there is not much point in voting Republican in State elections in New Hampshire any longer.

Let’s start with a brief recap of the budget drama.   Continue reading

The Phantom “Hole in the Budget”

From Governor Hassan’s Facebook, announcing her intention to veto the budget (which she did earlier today):

I have repeatedly offered compromises to address the unpaid-for corporate tax cuts, and will continue to do so, but we cannot enact a plan that would create a $90 million dollar hole in future budgets that will undermine our ability to fund the services we all agree are critical to our people, families and businesses.

A hole in a budget suggests that spending exceeds revenue.  There obviously is no hole at all, never mind a $90 million hole, in “future budgets” because no “future budgets” have been written yet.  The next State budget will not be written until 2017, and at that time the new Legislature and Governor can and will propose whatever spending and taxes they wish for the budget for Fiscal Years 2018-2019. Continue reading

What the Senate Must (and Must Not) Do to Pass a Fiscally Responsible Budget

Well, the Governor and the House have had their turn at writing the budget for the next two years, July of 2015 through June of 2016, or fiscal years 2015-2016, if you prefer.  And now it is the Senate’s turn.

So how to judge the Senate’s budget.

First and foremost, the Senate’s budget should allow Obamacare Medicaid Expansion to sunset (terminate) at the end of 2016.  The GOP Senate told us that Medicaid Expansion would end the instant the feds stopped paying for 100 percent of it.  Well that instant occurs at the end of 2016.  And the GOP Senate must keep its word.  It was a mistake to do Medicaid Expansion at all because the federal government did not make it a secret that it only intended to pick up the entire cost through 2016, following which it would begin ratcheting down its contribution and the participating States would have to make up the difference. Continue reading

Not All Budget Holes Are Created Equal

The New Hampshire Senate GOP showcased their proposal to reduce New Hampshire’s high business taxes today.  Here is the bill to reduce the business profits tax and here is the bills to reduce the business enterprise tax (the business enterprise tax is, essentially, prevents business from escaping taxation by paying out all the profit as salary).  It’s actually a very modest proposal, reducing business profit taxes from 8.5 percent to 8.0 percent over three years, and the business enterprise tax from .725 percent to .675 percent.  But that didn’t stop the Democrats from claiming that the sky is falling: Continue reading