Reform NH's Tax System

Dear Friend:

New Hampshire is in the midst of a fiscal crisis, but the leadership in Concord is unwilling to talk about—or even acknowledge—the elephant in the room:  a tax system that is outdated, unfair, and fails to bring in enough revenue to keep pace with population growth and the needs of the people of New Hampshire.
I am part of an organization that is working to make a difference—the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition ( At a time when the very structure and purpose of our state government is under assault by the radical right wing, you can help-–right now, from your desk.
The people of New Hampshire believe in fairness, but we have a tax system that is anything but. The wealthiest in our state pay the lowest percentage of income in state and local taxes, while the poorest pay the highest.
A study in 2001 found that 12% of the households in New Hampshire received one-half of all income, but paid far less than one-half of all state and local taxes.
The culprit is the property tax.  Here’s why:  nearly two-thirds of all state and local taxes raised in New Hampshire are property taxes.  Our second-largest source of revenue--business taxes--are one sixth the size of the property tax.  Alcohol and gambling are minor contributors.
New Hampshire relies on property taxes more than any other state.

Not surprisingly, New Hampshire has the third-highest property taxes in the nation.
The problem is getting worse.  Since 1999, the total property tax bill in New Hampshire has been increasing by more than 6% per year.
At this rate, the property tax bill in New Hampshire doubles every 12 years.
Consider the experience of the town of Hollis, which polled its citizens in 2006.  40% of households had property tax bills that were between five and ten percent of income.  Twenty percent of households had property tax bills over 15% of income, with some paying over 35% of income in property tax.
The effects of such unfairness are everywhere.  Schools and other public services are cut because too many people are taxed unfairly, and they refuse to pay any more.  Most of New Hampshire is zoned against affordable housing because cities and towns are afraid that new families with children to educate will increase property taxes.  Open space is rezoned for strip commercial development in the hope of generating some ‘child-free’ property tax revenue.
Fortunately, there are people working for change.  The Granite State Fair Tax Coalition is the only organization in New Hampshire that is working for property tax relief and fundamental tax reform based on the principle of fairness.  The Coalition believes that the people of New Hampshire would support change if they knew the truth about taxes in our state, rather than the myths perpetuated by some politicians and media outlets.
If you agree it is time to do something about the property tax in New Hampshire, here’s what you can do:
  • Forward this email to your friends, so that they can see the truth about taxes in New Hampshire.
  • Go to the web site of the Granite State Fair Tax Coalition (, and make a contribution, so that the Coalition will have the resources to spread the truth about taxes in New Hampshire and the need for reform.
  • Sign up to be a member of the Coalition.  (They promise not to email more than once a week, and not to give your email address to anyone else.)
  • Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper outlining the facts above and urging people to vote for reform.
With your help, we can change New Hampshire.
Thank you,
Mark Fernald
Treasurer, Granite State Fair Tax Coalition