Letter: Feltes supports a tax that falls heavily on seniors

Published: 8/18/2020 12:01:19 AM

State Sen. Dan Feltes’s campaign for governor promises to avoid a broad-based tax on income or sales, but instead he supports a narrow-based tax that falls most heavily on senior citizens.

■His proposed capital gains tax is not just on the gains for the past year, but for the whole time you owned the asset even if it is 50 years or more. You must pay on the total gain even if the asset lost money last year. Obviously this hits older people the hardest and the oldest even more. The tax needs to be only on last year’s gains.

■IRAs were not passed into law until 1974 and 401(k)s until 1978 but were uncommon until 1981, hence anyone older than 56 probably has their earliest retirement savings in a taxable account. Feltes would tax those gains although IRAs and 401(k)s available later are not taxed. Once again, the oldest are hurt the worst.

■While inflation has been minimal as of late, someone like myself who started full-time work in 1972 will remember multiple years of over 10% inflation. Someone who bought a stock for $10,000 in 1969 (consumer price index 36.9) and 59 years later sold it for $70,000 in 2019 (CPI 255.7) would only be able to buy just about the same goods as before yet Feltes would tax the $60,000 paper gain. Again this tax seems designed to punish those who have held investments the longest, i.e. senior citizens. Any capital gains tax should be indexed for inflation.

■Ordinary people often have large capital gains if they need money for medical bills, someone’s college tuition, casualty losses, or other large expenses that may be deductible from federal income tax so you effectively aren’t taxed on the gain. Feltes does not allow deductions from his tax. That’s unfair.

If New Hampshire needs an income tax, surely someone with a $100,000 salary should be paying it and not just somebody cashing in their life savings to pay their property tax. Philosophers might suggest it makes more sense to tax what you remove from society (sales tax) rather than what you produce for society (income tax). Tell Feltes that unless he disavows this most unfair tax you will be voting for someone else.

ROY SCHWEIKER

Concord


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