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NH Church Leaders Endorse "Fair Tax" Resolution

March 11, 2008

Concord, NH - New Hampshire towns from Acworth to Wolfboro will discuss a "Fair Tax" resolution at town meetings in the next several days. Groups including the League of Women Voters and the New Hampshire Council of Churches have formed a coalition urging voters to end the state's reliance on property taxes and find a fairer way to pay for necessary government services.

In fact, voters in 88 towns are challenging the notion that tax reform is the "third rail" of New Hampshire politics: Touch it and you die. Members of the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition have brought what they call a "Fair Tax Resolution" to upcoming town meetings. It calls on state leaders to put aside the traditional "no new taxes" pledge and find a fairer way to collect revenues.

David Lamarre-Vincent, executive director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, says faith leaders have joined the coalition because the state's reliance on property taxes is an issue of social justice.

"Fair taxes have always been a concern for the churches because we have a concern for the poor and making sure that those who are least able to pay, pay only their fair share and no more. In New Hampshire, that seems to be stood on its head."

Lamarre-Vincent says the property tax doesn't reflect a resident's ability to pay. He says the churches hope to encourage candidates in the fall elections to pledge an open and wide-ranging discussion of alternatives that will help maintain the "New Hampshire Advantage."

Critics say using other forms of taxation would open the door to increased taxes and spending. Lamarre-Vincent responds that the challenge is to fix how the state pays for services, not figure out how more services can be cut.

"If your objection is that we shouldn't add or subtract anything, what you're actually saying is that you believe the property tax is fair, and that you're pledging to raise the property tax."

More information about the resolution is available at www.nhfairtax.org.

John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NH