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

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Coalition Leader Lauds N.H. House for Passing Property Tax Sunset Bill

March 8, 2002

PORTSMOUTH, NH -- Mayor Evelyn Sirrell said Friday the 31-member Coalition of Communities is overjoyed that the New Hampshire House approved a bill to sunset the statewide property tax, calling it a "dramatic legislative turnaround," and urging the Senate to quickly follow suit.

The House had made the statewide property tax vote permanent last June with a 190-181 vote approving a tax package. But Thursday -- less than nine months later and following an intense Coalition campaign -- the House reversed that action with a 188-116 vote approving HB 1462, which would sunset the statewide property tax as of Jan. 1, 2004.

"This bill was part of our two-pronged attack on the statewide property tax, and the House passage of HB 1462 reflects a dramatic legislative turnaround since last June, when the Legislature narrowly voted to make the tax permanent. Our Coalition and our lawmakers have worked very hard over the past months to make sure that all the lawmakers understand the plight of our Donor communities and that this horrendous tax has to be overturned for the good of our state," the Mayor said.

"Our Coalition will continue to work hard for passage of this bill in the Senate and we hope Governor Shaheen will let this bill become law so the next Legislature and the next Governor will have the opportunity to find a permanent, fair solution to the education funding problem," she continued.

"Of course, we are disappointed that our interim solution, CACR 35, the proposed constitutional amendment to hold harmless the Donor towns did not get House approval, but from the beginning, our ultimate goal has been to overturn the statewide property tax altogether and HB 1462 will do that," she said.

The Mayor and the Coalition had contacted each New Hampshire state representative, seeking their support of the legislation. They plan to make a similar effort in the Senate.

"I am so pleased that Democrats, Republicans and Independents stepped forward to vote to alleviate this problem on Thursday," she said. "As the leader of the Coalition Communities, I am gratified that these hard-working legislators understand how the statewide property tax has pitted Donor towns against Receiver towns, devastated school and town budgets and forced people from their homes."

In approving HB 1462, the lawmakers also rejected the recommendation of House Ways and Means Committee that the property tax sunset bill be sent to Interim Study, which would have killed it for this legislative session.

Since the passage of HB 999 instituting the statewide property tax three years ago, almost $1 billion in "new" money has been provided to 80 percent of the state's communities representing 90 percent of its citizens while the other 20 percent of towns that are home to just 10 percent of the population not only didn't receive a cent -- they had to "donate" over $84 million simply on the basis of their zip codes.

There currently are 57 communities forced to send Concord more education funding than they receive because their communities are property-rich even if their citizens are not. 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 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