Saturday, July 2, 2011

NowHampshire.com poll: Income tax plans could sink Democrats

September 9, 2009 by Patrick  
Filed under State House

Granite Staters remain adamantly opposed to an income tax and are significantly less likely to vote to reelect their state legislator if they support an income tax, a new survey conducted for NowHampshire.com by Populus Research says.

Speaker of the House Terie Norelli kicked off a firestorm last week that has yet to simmer down when she suggested the state would begin to look at new revenue sources and refused to take an income tax off the table.

Sixty-three percent of likely voters in New Hampshire oppose the legislature imposing an income tax to balance the budget. Only 32% support and income tax.

Fifty-nine percent of likely voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate for state office who supports and income tax. Only 27% are more likely to do so.

The Nashua Telegraph reported on Sunday that Rep. Susan Almy, the powerful head of the House Ways and Means Committee has privately been pushing to impose an income tax for several months now. Speaker Norelli once voted for an income tax.

Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, opposes an income tax and says he will veto one if it were to cross his desk.

A subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee will actually hold a hearing on HB 642 on Thursday, “an act establishing a flat rate education income tax and relative to the statewide enhanced education tax and certain other taxes.”

About the poll, State GOP Communications Director Ryan Williams said, “Cleary, voters realize that the Democrats’ devastating income tax is the wrong approach for New Hampshire. The Democrats in the legislature need to stop pushing new job-killing taxes and start focusing on controlling excessive spending to address the fiscal crisis they created.”

For her part, Speaker Norelli has backtracked and is attempting to down play the possibility of an income tax, without actually taking it off the table.

Norelli tells NowHampshire.com, “First of all, there is not going to be an economic ‘summit’. There is, however, going to be an informational/educational day in the Ways and Means Committee during which the committee will hear from economists — national and state, from the right, left and in-between — as well as others, such as business interests, about our revenue sources. They will be asked to talk about how well our state’s revenue structure fits the state economy — does the overall structure or a particular tax help, hurt or is it neutral. Over time, we have added or increased some taxes and we have repealed others. Hopefully, this is an opportunity for us to gather such information outside the time pressures of a budget, and will help to inform us as we go forward. There will be no restriction as to what taxes they choose to address. But the committee will also not be making any recommendations for legislation coming out of this — just informing themselves — a healthy thing for all of us to do on a regular basis.”

NowHampshire.com will release the full results of our poll on Thursday.

Comments

One Response to “NowHampshire.com poll: Income tax plans could sink Democrats”
  1. The Ways & Means Committee is not having a hearing on September 10: it’s just a subcommittee work session. The full committee has to report on the bill by January 2nd: they may or may not opt to hold more hearings.

    The public may or may not be allowed to comment at the subcommittee work session: the chairperson runs the meeting and who gets to speak is her call. The work session differs from a public hearing in that it is primarily a forum where the members of the committee can share their ideas and ask questions. The ground rules are in any case not friendly to “teabaggers”: representatives and guests are required to be respectful and must listen to the other participants, all comments are required to be on-topic and succinct, no signs or banners are allowed, temper tantrums can only thrown outside the hearing room itself (e.g., in the corridor or in the anteroom), no weapons are allowed (although there is no metal detector in the lobby), etc.

    In the unlikely event that this bill passes the full House, there will be hearings in the Senate sometime in the late spring of 2010.

    The General Court’s rules, BTW, require ALL bills to get at least one hearing, no matter how unpopular they may be.

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