New Hampshire Income Tax Amendment, CACR 13 (2012)

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Income Tax Amendment
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Type:Legislative referral
Constitution:New Hampshire Constitution
Topic:Taxes
Status:On the ballot
The New Hampshire Income Tax Amendment will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot in New Hampshire as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The proposed measure, filed as Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 13, would ban new taxes on personal income.[1]

Currently the state of New Hampshire charges some personal income taxes: the gambling winnings tax that assesses a 10 percent levy on winnings of $600 or more and a 5 percent tax on dividends and interest.[1]

The measure states: "No new tax shall be levied, directly or indirectly, upon a person’s income, from whatever source it is derived."[2]

Current states without a state income tax include: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Text of the measure

Ballot language

The ballot language that will appear on the ballot reads:[3]

Are you in favor of amending the second part of the constitution by inserting after article 5-b a new article to read as follows:

[Art.] 5-c. [Income Tax Prohibited.] Notwithstanding any general or special provision of this constitution, the general court shall not have the power or authority to impose and levy any assessment, rate, or tax upon income earned by any natural person; however, nothing in this Article shall be construed to prohibit any tax in effect on January 1, 2012, or adjustment to the rate of such a tax.[4]

Support

House Speaker William O'Brien, who co-sponsored the proposed measure, said, "The point of this amendment is to avoid this state being changed. We're the only state in the Northeast that doesn't charge an income tax, and I want to keep it that way."[1]

"When we’re talking about changing the constitution, we are talking about our legacy. We are one of the last oases where, as a state, your personal income is not taxed," said Rep. Frank Sapareto.[1]

House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt, one of the amendment's co-sponsors, said future business taxes would not be affected by the amendment. According to him, the amendment applies only to human beings, not corporations that the law considers "persons."[5]

Opposition

Opponents of the proposed measure argue that the measure is too broadly written and could result in litigation. Rep. Mary Cooney said the amendment leaves too much room for interpretation as to what is included in "a new tax."[6] Additionally, opponents note that the measure may tie lawmakers' hands. Rep. Susan Almy said, "It is trying to make sure you couldn’t put an income tax in but, in the process, it is also stopping probably any future change in business taxes or any future change in any other tax we may have."[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New Hampshire constitution

In order for the state legislature to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot, both chambers of the state legislature must approve doing so by a vote in each house of at least 60%. Once any such constitutional amendment is on the ballot, the state's voters must approve it by a 2/3 vote for it to pass.

On January 18, 2012 the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 257-101 in favor of referring the proposed measure to the 2012 ballot. The measure was subsequently passed by the New Hampshire State Senate and placed on the ballot.[7]

See also

External links

References