The Coalition Communities

Alton..Bridgewater..Eaton..Franconia..Freedom..Grantham..Greenland..Hampton.. Hampton Falls ..Hanover

Hart's Location.. Hebron..Jackson..Lincoln..Meredith..Moultonborough..New Castle..New London..Newington

North Hampton..Portsmouth..Rye..Sandwich..Seabrook..Stoddard.. Sunapee..Waterville Valley

/o Ted Jankowski, City of Portsmouth, Deputy City Manager, Municipal Complex, Portsmouth, NH, 03801

Telephone: (603) 431-2006, Ext. 222 Fax: (603) 427-1575 E-Mail:

Web site:

Coalition Communities: Ruling Disappointing, But No Surprise

For Immediate Release For more information:

Sept. 5, 2001 Contact: Ted Jankowski

431-2006, Ext. 222

PORTSMOUTH—The Coalition Communities fighting the statewide property tax were disappointed,

but not surprised by the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s refusal to reconsider its ruling that the tax is constitutional and will meet later this month to consider their next step, the group’s leader said Wednesday.

"We would have hoped the justices would have been more intellectually honest on this important issue, but the three who voted against the Coalition were all appointed by Governor Shaheen," said Mayor Evelyn Sirrell after Tuesday’s 3-2 decision.

Sirrell noted that the judges split along the same lines as their original decision in May to overturn the Rockingham Superior Court ruling that the tax is unconstitutional.

"We were disappointed, but not surprised. But maybe this will give us a new roadmap on how to legally challenge this horrendous tax," she said.

Sirrell said the 27 Coalition Communities will discuss their next step at a meeting later this month, but "we will not give up the fight against this unjust tax." The meeting date has not been finalized.

The Mayor said legal options would be explored prior to the meeting, but she also will urge the Coalition to challenge the property tax in Concord by forming a Political Action Committee.

"The people’s fight against this property tax must begin in Concord," Sirrell said. "We have to hold the candidates, and the incumbents, accountable whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. We have to say we won’t support candidates unless they promise to fight this horrible tax."

Under the current system, property-rich communities, or "donor" towns, must send more money to Concord than they receive back in education aid. Although the property tax was implemented in 1999 as a "temporary measure" to resolve the state’s education funding crisis, the Legislature voted in June to make it permanent. There will be 55 "donor" towns next year, along with another 57 "receiver" communities receiving less education funding. Those lists are posted on the Coalition's Web site.

Portsmouth is the largest of the Coalition Communities. The others are Alton, Bridgewater, Eaton, Franconia, Freedom, Grantham, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hanover, Hart’s Location, Hebron, Jackson, Lincoln, Meredith, Moultonborough, New Castle, New London, Newington, North Hampton, Rye, Sandwich, Seabrook, Stoddard, Sunapee and Waterville Valley.