Pass a flat-rate income tax to fund public education

Friday, August 10, 2018 4:27PM
To the editor:

In her recent letter, N.H. State Senate District 9 candidate, Jeanne Dietsch, asked who would an income tax help in N.H. After doing the math she concluded a state income tax would help some and harm others, but she did not address the fairness of having a state income tax.

One of her opponents in the upcoming Democratic Party primary for N.H. State Senate District 9 is Mark Fernald. In a previous campaign for N.H. governor, he pointed out that 60 to 70 percent of everyone’s property tax goes to pay for public education. The so-called state portion of the property tax was an attempt by the legislature to comply with a court ruling that the state is responsible for adequately funding public education.

Re-distributing local property taxes to make it look like the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to fund public education has made matters worse for most N.H. property owners. Then-candidate for Governor Fernald proposed a 3 percent state income tax to be used exclusively to fund public education. The benefit of an income tax to fund public education is that, unlike the property tax, it takes into account the income of the person who has to pay the tax.

As many N.H. residents get older and retire, they have less income, and many are forced to sell their homes because they cannot afford to pay their property taxes. An income tax addresses the regressive nature of the property tax, and it puts the responsibility of funding public education squarely in Concord. The way to do it is to pass a flat-rate income tax to fund public education.

Candidate Dietsch says getting an income tax passed is too hard and she would focus on rescinding $180 million in business tax cuts. Why not do both? 

Tim Wessels