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No income tax: 'Yes' on Question 1

New Hampshire voters will be asked next Tuesday whether they want to permanently ban a state income tax. They should vote "yes."

The first constitutional amendment on next week's ballot will be phrased as follows: "Notwithstanding any general or special provision of this constitution, the general court shall not have the power or authority to impose and levy any assessment, rate or tax upon income earned by any natural person; however, nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit any tax in effect on January 1, 2012, or adjustment to the rate of such a tax."

Here is what that means: All existing taxes, including those on interest and dividends (which are income taxes) will remain in effect, but the Legislature may not create any new personal income tax. The phrase "natural person" restricts the ban to actual human beings. That leaves the state free to continue taxing businesses.

Opponents claim that this ban would write tax policy into the constitution. But tax policy is - and always has been - a part of both the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions. Their argument is bogus, and they know it.

This amendment simply would make a new income tax unconstitutional. Passing it would make it harder for future politicians to destroy the New Hampshire Advantage because they were too cowardly to budget responsibly. All of us should support that.

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