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Letter: Three lessons from town meeting

After recently attending another town meeting, three things seemed crystal clear to me:

1. The state continues to ignore its responsibility to educate our kids, and it continues to pass the buck to the towns.

2. After the school and state education portion (about two-thirds) of the tax bill, there is not much left to maintain the town’s basic infrastructure, such as fixing crumbling roads and deteriorating bridges, giving town employees an occasional small raise, and properly maintaining town buildings. The back roads in New Hampshire are getting worse and worse. Just ask any town road agent.

3. Townspeople are upset about receiving huge, unfair property tax bills. Well-meaning selectmen are upset about the struggle to pay basic bills and worry about the many repairs and improvements that must (often dangerously) be put off year after year.

All other states in the country have broad-based taxes. Stubbornly, New Hampshire still has none, despite the expensive costs of maintaining infrastructure in this part of the country. How do we think we can get away with it?

What if a sales tax (food and medicine exempt) were established, with revenue earmarked just for education? With millions rolling in, not only from New Hampshire shoppers but also from tourists, there would be tremendous relief on that two-thirds portion of our property tax bill. How could any thinking person be an opponent of a small broad-based sales tax that directly benefits our kids’ education?

To continue to deny that our state can’t run efficiently without it, and to continue to unfairly pass the buck of education costs to the homeowner is not something to be proud of. If you agree, please contact your representatives in Concord.

RICHARD FOSS

Webster

Excellent letter Richard. And one that should not have to be written. It should be plain as the nose on anyone's face that we are in dire straits and that our archaic revenue system needs an update. But as long as we "pledge" our allegiance to financial ignorance we will be stuck in this rut.

This letter is very good. It has come to the point that property taxes are so high that people are leaving the State. Each year the State keeps pushing more back onto the towns regarding the schools, and the school districts keep spending more and more money on the employees raises and benefits with no regard to the taxpayer. The State and the school boards, superintendents, etc really don't care as long as the burden is off their backs. In my opinion at some of the annual school meetings, the employees, their spouses, other relatives and friends go and vote the budget in. Until the "taxpayer" makes a decision to go to the annual meeting nothing will change. A taxpayer has no right to complain about their tax bill if they are not willing to take the time to go to the "annual school meeting."

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