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October 06. 2012 7:57PM

Come clean, Maggie: Reveal your tax hikes

Democratic candidate for governor Maggie Hassan uses the word “restore” a lot. She says the last state budget was “extreme” and “radical” because instead of raising taxes, legislators cut spending to match available revenue. Her plan, she says, is to “restore” hundreds of millions of dollars cut from the state budget to bring it into balance.

What she doesn’t say is how she is going to pay for that restoration.

Hassan has taken The Pledge to oppose a broad-based sales or income tax. If she sticks to that, then she will have to raise a lot of other taxes to pay for all the new funding she proposes, including $100 million to the University System of New Hampshire alone.

In her debates with Republican opponent Ovide Lamontagne, Hassan has been careful to avoid advocating specific tax increases. Instead, she takes a line from her primary opponent Jackie Cilley, who said she did not want an income tax, but wanted to “have a conversation” about an income tax. Hassan wants to have lots of conversations about lots of taxes — after the election.

Would she raise the rooms and meals tax, the business profits and business enterprise taxes, the gas tax, tolls? She will not say for certain. (She says she would hope to not raise the rooms and meals tax above 9.5 percent, but legislating is all about “compromise.”)

How little does Hassan want to talk about taxes? Her official campaign website does not list taxes in its “Issues” section. In her “Innovate NH Jobs Plan,” the word “tax” appears once: in the last bullet point, which outlines her proposal to double the research and development tax credit. Seven of her remaining eight points are proposals to spend more state money.

Hassan believes that the way to improve New Hampshire’s economy is for the state to raise taxes and spending. She thinks the spending part is popular, but she knows the taxing part isn’t, so she talks constantly about the former, rarely about the latter. The election is one month away. Come clean, Maggie. What taxes will you raise to pay for all of your new spending?


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