The Coalition Communities
Alton..Bridgewater..Eaton..Franconia..Freedom..Grantham..Greenland..Hampton.. Hampton Falls ..Hanover
Hart's Location.. Hebron..Jackson..Lincoln..Meredith..Moultonborough..New Castle..New London..Newington
North Hampton..Portsmouth..Rye..Sandwich..Seabrook..Stoddard.. Sunapee..Waterville Valley
c/o Ted Jankowski, City of Portsmouth, Deputy City Manager, Municipal Complex, Portsmouth, NH, 03801
Telephone: (603) 431-2006, Ext. 222 Fax: (603) 427-1575 E-Mail:Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com
Mayor Urges Support for Legislation to Overturn Statewide Property Tax
For Immediate Release For more information:
Nov. 20, 2001 Contact: Ted Jankowski
431-2006, Ext. 222
PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth Mayor Evelyn Sirrell will urge her fellow Coalition Communities at their Dec. 4 meeting to pledge support for any legislation to overturn the permanent statewide property tax when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
"Next year, 112 New Hampshire cities and towns will be severely impacted by the statewide property tax. That includes the 55 communities that will be forced to 'donate' money for education in other towns in the next fiscal year," said Mayor Sirrell, the Coalition's leader.
"But there are also another 57 so-called 'receiver towns' that are going to find themselves scrambling to pay for educating their children because the state says they'll be receiving less money next time around," she continued.
Sirrell said she believes the Coalition of 27 towns fighting the tax will agree at its Dec. 4 meeting in Concord to back efforts to reverse the Legislature's narrow vote making the tax permanent in the waning hours of the session in June.
"We need our state lawmakers to step forward and overturn this unfair and unjust tax that is hurting citizens all across our state," said Mayor Sirrell. "I want our Coalition to fully back any state Senate or House member who brings forward a bill to reverse the permanence of this onerous tax.
"It's time for our Legislature to find another way to pay for education without forcing people out of their homes. New Hampshire leads the country in relying on property taxes to fund its services -- in fact, our over-reliance is twice the national average. That's a no-win situation for everyone," she said.
She noted that Portsmouth is sending the equivalent of $92 for every man, woman and child in the city to Concord to pay for education in other towns. "That will jump to $179 per capita next year," she said.
At the Dec. 4 meeting the Coalition also will decide whether to mount a new challenge to the constitutionality of the statewide property tax. Coalition attorney Tom Closson has not yet publicly announced his strategy, but has said that when the N.H. Supreme Court rejected the Coalition's challenge last time, it also provided a roadmap on how the tax must be shown to be unfair in order to be declared unconstitutional.
The Coalition wants to wage a three-pronged attack on the statewide property tax -- challenging it through the courts, in the Legislature and through a statewide education effort -- and will discuss legal strategy and finances at the meeting. It will be closed to the news media, but a statement will be issued at the conclusion of the two-hour meeting.
Portsmouth is the largest of the 27 towns that joined forces in 1999 to fight the statewide property tax. The other Coalition Communities are Alton, Bridgewater, Eaton, Franconia, Freedom, Grantham, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hanover, Hart's Location, Hebron, Jackson, Lincoln, Meredith, Moultonborough, New Castle, New London, Newington, North Hampton, Rye, Sandwich, Seabrook, Stoddard, Sunapee and Waterville Valley.
Editor's Note: The meeting will be closed to the news media because personnel and legal matters will be discussed. However, a statement will be issued at the conclusion of the meeting at noon outside Room 307 of the Legislative Office Building 33 North State St.