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My Turn: Who benefits from New Hampshire Advantage? We do!

In his Dec. 9 Monitor column mocking “the New Hampshire Advantage,” James Hunt asks for a study comparing New Hampshire’s economy with Vermont’s, positing that Vermont’s is actually better, despite its income and sales taxes. A look at the “advantage” resulting from our sales tax-free status makes clear the reality.

Art Woolf at Northern Economic Consulting of Westford, Vt., published a report in 2006 that looks at the economies in the border counties of each state since the imposition of Vermont’s sales tax. Quoting the report’s executive summary, “In the years before Vermont implemented these policies, per capita retail sales activity in Vermont’s border counties was equal to that in the New Hampshire counties bordering the Connecticut River. “Fifteen years later, sales of goods subject to the sales tax in those Vermont counties “are one-half the level of the New Hampshire border counties.”

And the disparity doesn’t stop at taxable items.

Regarding food purchases, both retail and on-premise, “Per capita sales in Vermont and New Hampshire border counties were very similar from 1963 through 1987. But since 1992 the Vermont county per-capita sales have consistently been 15 to 20 percent below sales in New Hampshire’s border counties.”

This then has pushed rooms and meals tax revenue and business tax revenue to New Hampshire’s coffers, where otherwise it would have been deposited into the Vermont budget.

Brian Gottlob of PolEcon Research recently wrote a report for the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire that looks at the impact of a sales tax in our state, including the effects on state and local economies and budgets. The report demonstrates even a low-level sales tax would cause a decline of more than $50 million in current state revenue and the loss of more than 13,000 jobs. It would create 3.8 million square feet of empty retail space. Lower property values resulting from the vacancies would mean either a reduction of municipal services or, more likely, a shift of the property tax burden to homeowners.

Who benefits from the tax-free shopping piece of the “New Hampshire Advantage”? To begin with, the taxpayers, particularly homeowners, who otherwise would experience an increase in other taxes.

(Curtis J. Barry is a registered lobbyist with The Dupont Group, whose clients include the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire.)

Legacy Comments13

Hey Earthling! Most of the secondary roads are in rough shape. The primary have been patched in a hap hazard way. I do feel that it is time to clip the wings of the "Mitt Romney " Wannabees. When we catch some one using our system for the pourpose of evading our tax laws or the laws of another state or the Federal Government we need to make sure these criminals are shown the inside of a jail cell. Anybody falsley regestering a car here to gain status as a New Hampshire resident needs to be charged under the statutes that govern tax evasion. Then the information needs to be promptly turned over to the Interbnal revenue Service. This will put a quick end to the Criminals and scofflaws who are so unethical as to dare to abuse and break our laws. it will also end any voter fraud! ~~~ Nhdriver, Ps Pizza last week of Jan!

Lets compare Rye NH and Claremont NH. Rye has a population of 5,300. Avg Income is 53,000 Claremont has a population of 13,350 Avg Income of 22,000. Both towns spend the same amount on education per student 15,000. Claremont has 5,000 more citizens than Rye. It is pretty obvious that the town cannot support the folks who live there. More service needed and less revenue coming in based on incomes and I would assume property values. The services required in Claremont outweigh the revenue. Not the case in Rye. They have properties that bring in taxes based on property values and we all know Rye has some magnificent homes that cost in the millions. Claremont is a town with high unemployment and low incomes. So what do we do? Obviously Claremont is spending on their schools, so quality education is not an issue. They spend the same as Rye. Problem is they cannot afford to spend the same as Rye. They do not have the tax income to support it. And they have more citizens. So again, what do we do? Do we subsidize Claremont? Is this about education funds? How much per student is fair? If a town spends 15.000 grand per student is that fair?

Rye: Median rent asked for vacant for-rent units in 2009: $2,343 Median gross rent: $1,328 Claremont: Median rent asked for vacant for-rent units in 2009: $735 Median gross rent: $722 Claremont and Pittsfield, unlike Rye, are examples of towns where low income people can afford the rents. This disparity in local education tax rates by town is a statewide problem that is ignored by wealthy border mall merchants and rich folks living in their low tax rate "magnificent homes" in towns like Rye. The statewide problem requires a statewide solution.

Hey Earthling and Rabbit! Great to see you both! I am saddened by the amount of disrepair occurring in the Upper valley. People don't have the money to put into home repair and now it is really showing. Sad. I call it the land of the blue tarp roof..... Nhdriver, Duke & Charlie

I've driven through low tax $11.22 Rye, low tax $6.39 New Castle, and low tax $8.95 Newington recently, and I didn't see any tarps on roofs. The roads were all fixed up nicely too, including the NH routes in the area. How are the NH roads looking for the folks in the upper valley area towns like high tax $34.37 Claremont and high tax $24.45 Plainfield? I haven't been through high tax $32.31 Berlin or high tax $28.61 Bethlehem lately, have you? Probably tarps there too. Maybe they don't have malls to rip off tax revenue from bordering states. Or maybe they don't have a lot of millionaires living in waterfront mansions along the shores of large publicly owned bodies of water? For several months I have been working on a house in the seacoast area. There's a house across the street with a dock on the saltwater, and the owner told me he lives there. He has a car that's always parked in the driveway. But he isn't actually there except for sometimes on weekends when he shows up in a car with Mass plates. Seems kinda weird. I wonder if it might be possible to actually live most of the time in Mass., make big bucks selling Chinese products at a border mall in NH, and pretend to live in NH for the "New Hampshire Advantage".

From memory and I would have to check on the real statistics, but I recall that during every economic down turn, NH was the last state to feel the effects and the first to recover while surrounding states dealt with much more unemployment and economic issues. I know the argument about unemployment is that a good amount of NH residents work in MA or ME and don't skew the numbers in NH and the true picture is different. However, I think it is a wash between who work in NH from out of state and from our state that work in border states. Either way, the numbers don't lie and the true NH Advantage is our ability to navigate these economic downturns better than our neighboring states.

The facts and figures are there based on what happened under Dem control and what happened under Rep control as far as tax burden numbers. We also have national ratings for our state in regards to unemployment etc. The Dems are tax and spend. Look at the figures when they had the majority here in NH. If you look at numbers minus a political slant, they tell the story. Yet many, will dispute those numbers to benefit their political agenda, and if that does not work, they attack the source. One only has to research the states that have income and state taxes. See how they fare.

Thousands of Vermonters live in Vermont and work in NH. Every year we collect income taxes on those Vermont residence and send it to Montpelier. The same is true for Mass residents working at companies like BAE systems on the border of NH and Mass or Mainers working in Portsmouth or other border towns. How many tens of millions, perhaps as much as hundreds of millions do we send to those state because we cannot collect our own income tax on those out of staters that work in NH..The surrounding states may hate our no sales tax but their tax coffers love our decision not to have an income more than makes up for the loss of sales tax revenue and gets them to focus on jobs that have a future and are not subject to the whim of the low paying Walmarts, Home Depots and Lowes of this world.

"Who benefits from New Hampshire Advantage? We do!": "(Curtis J. Barry is a registered lobbyist with The Dupont Group, whose clients include the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire.)"

Maybe progressives just don't get it. Healthy environment for NH retail merchants benefits everyone. Lobbyists come in all colors. Silly environmental extremists are lobbyists, womens groups have lobbyists, etc. The NH Advantage aside, if you don't respect commerce and if you don't respect business and economy and if you don't have a clue how that works and how it makes economy run. You want more taxes so that you can have government spend it in a way in which you agree so you are out to demonize even principled, honest hard working folks like retailers.

The do not get it. many think trees and wide sidewalks will make Main Street prosperous. The truth is downtown retail is suffering. Go into any store and see how empty they are. Folks have said that parking is an issue, and high priced small inventory stores are an issue. Nobody listens. Just look at any state with income and sales taxes. Folks think if their property taxes go down it is a great idea. yet they forget that states with sales and income taxes seem them as a revenue stream they can keep making higher. So those states spend more and have high taxes. If you do not like the state you live in tax wise I suggest you move to a state that has all those taxes. Our record in NH is not bad. We do not need to turn into taxachusetts or CA.

Any "revenue stream they can keep making higher". I'm for fair taxation, something Republicans "do not get". Here's how the Republican's No New Taxes pledge works: Claremont local education property tax rate $16.10. Claremont per capita income $22,741. Pittfield local education tax rate $15.73. Pittsfield per capita income $23,770. Rye local education property tax rate $4.27. Rye per capita income $51,493. New Castle local education property tax rate $.83. New Castle per capita income $70,462.

Curtis J. Barry is a registered lobbyist - read this in good faith until I hit the bottom line. Once I see it is from a person who is paid to say exactly what a group wants - I take it all as an advertisement, it's like reading a commercial.

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