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Take a stand: House restores taxpayers' voice

March 07. 2018 7:16PM

For most of New Hampshire’s history, taxpayers who believed that their state or local government had spent their money improperly could go to court to challenge that spending.

But a series of recent decisions from the New Hampshire Supreme Court has stripped taxpayers of standing, leaving little recourse when elected officials break the rules. The judges ruled that taxpayers could not show they were harmed by allegedly illegal programs merely because it was their money being misused.

The New Hampshire House this week voted overwhelmingly for a constitutional amendment to restore taxpayer standing. CACR 15 passed 309-9, shattering the two-thirds threshold required to put an amendment on the ballot.

The Senate must also give two-thirds approval to CACR 15 for voters to decide the fate of the amendment in November.

Restoring taxpayer standing would allow conservatives to challenge breaches of municipal tax caps, and liberals to sue over school choice payments to private religious schools. Courts would decide these cases on their merits, rather than kicking taxpayers out of court for lack of standing.

CACR 15 would restore accountability in state and local government, giving citizens the ability to check out-of-control officials when they ignore the rules.

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