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

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Hearing Set for Coalition-Backed Constitutional Amendment

Jan. 31, 2002

PORTSMOUTH -- The proposed "hold harmless" constitutional amendment backed by the 31-member Coalition of Communities fighting to overturn the statewide property tax is scheduled for a hearing before the N.H. House Ways and Means Committee next Tuesday, the Coalition has announced.

The hearing on CACR35, the proposal to end "Donor" towns and cap the statewide property tax, is set for 10 a.m. in Room 202 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.

Members of the Coalition and residents of their towns are being urged to attend the session to express support for the proposal, which has attracted House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle.

The primary sponsor of the legislation is Rep. Raimond Bowles, R-Portsmouth. House co-sponsors are Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett; 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.

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.

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.

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