Another solution to high business taxes

To the editor:

Jim Roche, president of the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire made a very impassioned plea that he does not want business taxes raised to satisfy the states estimated $100 million budget shortfall (“Lawmakers: do no harm,” Jan. 16-29 NHBR).

Mr. Roche is an active advocate for the BIA and its members. He expresses an opinion that serves their interests first. It is certainly reasonable to conclude that finding funding sources to satisfy such a large state deficit will be quite harmful to who ever feels the impact.

My issue is the justification that he uses to seek tax shelter for his members. Given that business is such a large and important aspect of the state’s economy, if they are given a pass on higher tax levies the consequences to others could be devastating and gut-wrenching. Logical analysis has to prevail, not a partisan, lobbying opinion.

The foundation of his argument to be spared higher levies is that business is already highly taxed. It is at this juncture where his case falters. He uses comparisons to other states, making the point that New Hampshire already has higher business tax rates than other states. Mr. Roche neglects to point out the primary cause of high business taxes in New Hampshire is that we do not have an income tax on individuals. Thus, any comparison against other states is totally faulty, as we will always be near the top when comparing business tax rates.

We knowingly put ourselves near the top by refusing to consider alternative streams of income to lower business taxes.

No other organization in New Hampshire fights alternative taxes like an individual income tax or statewide sales tax than Mr. Roche and the BIA. These taxes could lower business tax rates measurably. They roadblock these other alternative taxes because they see these taxes as specifically harmful to their members. Then they plead for mercy against higher business taxes based on the sole premise business tax rates are high comparatively. Cake please – and I want to eat it too.

The one thing all could agree on is that we need total transparency of motives when this issue is being resolved. No one wants higher taxes. We need to determine who will be harmed least. Individuals could also make the same argument they are highly taxed as well as business. Property taxes on individuals in New Hampshire are among the highest in the country.

Tony Boutin

Categories: Cook on Concord