Manchester spending cap referendum (2009)

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The Manchester spending cap referendum was on the November 3 ballot in Hillsborough County for voters in the city of Manchester.

The referendum called for placing a cap on taxes and spending in future city budgets. The cap specifically ties the city's spending to the rate of inflation but allows for the cap to be sidestepped with a two-thirds vote by the city aldermen. In 2008, residents attempted to get the measure on the ballot but the proposal was rejected by the city aldermen.[1]

Election results

The Manchester Spending Cap Referendum was approved.[2]

Spending Cap Referendum
Result Votes Percentage
Approveda Yes 9,433 54.4%
No 7,906 45.6%
Total votes 17,339 100.00%
Voter turnout NA%


Proponents, including the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition, of the spending cap said their goal was to keep the city budget in check and to make it harder for city officials to raise taxes. In 2008 the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition began working with local activists to advocate spending caps on government expenditures.[1]

Ballot measure goes to court

On June 16, 2009 the aldermen voted in favor of sending a petition to the Hillsborough County Superior Court. In early July 2009 the city officials voted to rescind the petition but the proposal was rejected with a 5 to 7 vote. City Solicitor Tom Clark argued that the proposal is "not in conformance with the laws of the state of New Hampshire.

Prior to the court petition, the Manchester proposal was previously certified as constitutional by three state agencies.

In Concord a tax cap proposal was also made. The proposal was ruled unconstitutional by a Merrimack County Superior Court judge.[3]