January 03, 2007

New Hampshire: Glass Half Full?

A new poll by a New Hampshire newspaper finds growing support for reforming the state's tax system-- and for letting the state supreme court continue to act as a watchdog over the right to an adequate education.

That's the glass-half-full story from the Concord Monitor's coverage of this new poll. Here are the specific findings of interest:
1) Some people are making noise about passing a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit the state supreme court from passing judgment on the constitutionality of the way the state funds schools. 53% of survey respondents think this amendment would be a bad idea.
2) New Hampshire is one of nine states without an income tax. 37% think they should have one, and 9% are unsure.

In historical context, this is probably downright heartwarming for advocates of fair and adequate (not to mention constitutional) taxation; New Hampshire has been struggling with an antiquated tax system and its legacy of "no new taxes" governors for quite a while. But as a non-resident of the Granite State, these poll results still seem pretty bleak to me, taken on their own. Looking at the same two results a different way:
1) 47% of survey respondents apparently think it would be OK to pass a constitutional amendment stripping the state supreme court of its ability to enforce constitutional education guarantees.
2) 53% of respondents will not even entertain the notion of enacting an income tax.

This says to me that advocates of fair and sustainable tax reform still have a pretty big hill to climb in New Hampshire.


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