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Gubernatorial candidate Kennedy proposes income tax

By Tim Buckland
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 12. 2012 12:50PM

DANBURY - Gubernatorial candidate Bill Kennedy said Saturday that he would push to reduce property and business taxes and offset any lost revenue with a 4 percent flat personal income tax.

"Income tax is the most fair, just and equitable tax to meet the operational needs of the state, counties and municipalities," Kennedy said.

Kennedy, a Danbury firefighter and an Air Force veteran, said his proposal is real and not a ploy to begin his campaign with a controversial position. New Hampshire has no broad based sales or personal income taxes, though it has income taxes on business and investment income and does apply sales taxes to such things as prepared meals and hotel rooms.

"I'm in it to win it," Kennedy said Saturday morning. "This is something I plan to implement, especially the property tax reduction."

Kennedy, along with fellow Democratic candidate and former state Sen. Jackie Cilley, has refused to sign a pledge that he will not impose any sales or income tax.

His proposal was met with swift rebuke by the third Democrat in the party's primary for governor, former state Sen. Maggie Hassan.

"I oppose this proposal. And as I've said before, I oppose and would veto any sales or income tax that comes across my desk as governor," Hassan said in a statement.

Cilley could not be reached Saturday morning for comment.

Kennedy's plan would impose the tax on all personal income beyond the first $15,000 earned by a single person or $35,000 for a family of two or more. He said he understands that this could mean a new tax on the state's poorest citizens.

"I feel their pain. I really do. I know that taking even a little bit from them hurts," he said. "But a lot of people I've talked to, even the poor, want to contribute something to the state."

He said that, to counter the new tax, he would work to eliminate some of the 'hidden taxes' on state citizens, such as high car registration fees.

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