UNH Professor Ross Gittell addresses the NH House Ways & Means Subcommittee by request, regarding HB642, the current income tax bill, 9/10/2009.
What I found particularly galling was the good professor's open hubris regarding a paternalistic state-directed economy. One of his claimed "benefits" -- "I see this as a positive" -- to his preferred sales tax (which is first broached at 24:30) would be the intentional non-market-driven shrinking of the retail sector, thus forcing people out of those jobs (first offered at about 25:30, again at 28:00, and again at 41:30~42:35, but clearly contradicted at 19:45). "For their own good," of course. Not that the legislature hasn't been more than happy to impose a similar employment purge on the payday loan industry not that long ago. Certainly, by his own stated criteria, this is expressly his goal: tax what you want to (what you believe you have the authority to) discourage (17:30, 28:45); in this case, by definition, retail commerce...
Also, if the current sales tax rate disparity is acceptable to surrounding states, if we cut that disparity in half as the professor recommends, why wouldn't that encourage those states to increase their revenues by subsequently increasing their rates in response, to maintain that acceptable-to-them disparity? What's the down side for them? Why wouldn't we be doing them a favor by voluntarily closing the gap, thus encouraging their consumers to spend their FRNs at home? Why wouldn't this course spark a tax rate "arms race" in the wrong direction? Isn't NH's lack of a sales tax a significant reason why those other states aren't higher now?
The presumption throughout, no surprise, is that the state needn't cut spending. It will have more revenue at the expense of our wallets. The only question is how. Why is the state's position always, "if we can collect it, we should have it to spend?"
In a backroom conversation before the gavel fell, it's clear Chairwoman Almy was not particularly pleased that word got out about her quiet little session. "I'm sure one of these cameras is the Free Staters. Probably the first." ... "And I'm not going to be bullied." (I suppose we should leave the bullying to the professionals, then...?) WMUR's reporter assured her it wasn't he who was responsible. She acknowledged, and blamed the Portsmouth Herald for the leak. The "media circus" (Hey, Mom! I was mentioned in Subcommittee! Unless I'm still not considered the med-- HEY...!) she references around the 4:50 mark she apparently considers sparked by a Herald article that doesn't seem to be online at this point, but she also makes a crack in the meeting that the Union Leader owes her an apology.
Well, the video's finally converted, so I gotta get this posted. Some background can be had here. "After action reports" here and here.