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.