1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com

Home About the Coalition Targeted Aid Solution Facts & Figures 
News Releases 
Contact Us 

News Releases- Archives

Coalition-Backed Constitutional Amendment Gains Major Co-Sponsors

Jan. 25, 2002

PORTSMOUTH -- House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle have signed on as co-sponsors of the proposed "hold harmless" constitutional amendment eliminating "Donor" towns, showing there is widespread support for the measure backed by the 31-member Coalition of Communities fighting to overturn the statewide property tax, Mayor Evelyn Sirrell said Friday.

The House co-sponsors of CACR 35 are Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett; Rep. Ray Bowles, R-Portsmouth; Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth; Rep. Henry Mock, R-Jackson and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Paul Spiess, a Republican from the Receiver community of Amherst. Rep. Bowles is the prime sponsor of the legislation.

Senate co-sponsors are President Pro Tem Carl Johnson, a Republican from Meredith; Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Ned Gordon, a Republican from Bristol; Democratic Leader Bev Hollingworth of Hampton and Democratic Whip Burt Cohen of New Castle.

"We are gratified that such distinguished members of the House and Senate have stepped forward to put their names on the dotted line as co-sponsors of this legislation," said Mayor Sirrell, the leader of the Coalition. "It is a first step in trying to right a horrible wrong that has been particularly devastating to our elderly, and low- and middle-income homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes.

"It is time for Democrats, Republicans and Independents to come together to solve this problem. Citizens across the state, whether they live in Donor or Receiver towns, also must step forward to urge their legislators to vote for this measure. A Receiver town today could well be a Donor town tomorrow if something isn't done to fix this problem," she continued.

The proposed amendment to Part 2, Article 5 says: "The state shall not impose a real property tax to fund public education that requires the taxpayers in any political subdivision to provide funds in excess of the amount required to support the cost of public education for pupils in such political subdivision, nor shall the state require any political subdivision to impose, collect or remit such a tax."

Representatives of the Coalition Communities are urging bipartisan support of the narrowly targeted, common-sense measure, which would simply prevent any community from being forced to send to Concord more property taxes than the state, under its formula, has determined is necessary to provide an education to children in that community.

"Even though our Coalition wants to see an end to the statewide property tax altogether, at least this measure will provide a cap so no taxpayer has to supplement a rich taxpayer in a Receiver town that already may be able to provide more extended services than his own community," the Mayor said. "Just because a town is rich in property doesn't mean its taxpayers are wealthy. Portsmouth is a perfect example of this misconception. We have the third-highest percentage of schoolchildren receiving free and reduced meals among all New Hampshire cities, and rank third in the amount of subsidized rental housing in the state."

The amendment, which must be passed by a 60 percent majority in both the Senate and House, and by two-thirds of the voters in November, would be effective April 1, 2003. The Coalition is supporting a delayed implementation in order not to cause a funding gap in the current State budget, and give the next Legislature time to make up any shortfall.

There currently are 57 communities forced to send Concord more funding than they receive because their communities are property-rich even if their citizens are not. And as of next July 1, for example, Moultonborough must "donate" $5.7 million -- the equivalent of $1,272 for every man, woman and child in the town. Portsmouth must send $3.7 million, or $179 per capita.


 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com