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NH property taxes: Not what some claim they are
New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Alliance shined the spotlight this week on the bogeyman that is the state’s property tax rate. Good for the alliance.
The claim that we have the “highest” or “third highest” property taxes in the country is often thrown around, usually by those politicians pushing to saddle the state with a broadbased sales or income tax. These are also the people who claim that enactment of such a tax will “lower” those terrible property taxes.
Neither claim is true.
No argument here that our property taxes are high. But the local taxpayer has only himself to blame. Property taxes are enacted and spent locally, which is their “beauty.” We know our local elected officials and if we pay attention, we should elect only those who spend prudently. What is also true is that New Hampshire has one of the lowest overall tax burdens in the country.
But the “third-highest” property taxes in the nation is misleading in the extreme. As a 2008 Live Free or Die Alliance study showed, the claim is flawed. It is so in part because it counts all New Hampshire property taxes and lumps them all on the state’s per capita population. But the state has a huge number of second homes on which those taxes are paid and much of that second-home stock is owned by out-of-staters.
Not surprisingly, the property tax bogeyman was raised most recently by Democratic candidate for governor Jackie Cilley. Cilley won’t take the pledge to veto a state income tax to which she is “open.”
An outfit called “PolitiFact,” which is being promoted by left-leaning news media and which claims to “fact-check” politicians’ claims, rated candidate Cilley’s claim about our property taxes as “true” and “spot on.”
“PolitiFact” needs to turn its “truth meter” on itself.
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