"No new tax shall be levied upon a
personís income, from whatever source it is derived."
Two very important pieces of legislation passed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week. The first was Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 13 (CACR 13). CACR 13ís elegantly simple language is quoted above and it will prohibit in our constitution the passage of a tax on earned income Ė an income tax. We spent the better part of the morning last Wednesday listening to the arguments for and against the resolution.
Some said that, since an income tax had never been enacted in New Hampshire, a CACR was unnecessary and that a statute would certainly suffice. But no legislature can bind future legislatures by a statute. Statutes can be changed by a majority vote in any legislative year. Putting this amendment into our constitution would set a much higher bar to repeal it.
A CACR requires a 60% vote of the entire legislative membership rather than just of those present. The required number was 239 and it passed by a quite comfortable vote of 257-101. It next goes to the Senate where its passage is expected but not guaranteed. It will then go to the voters where a two-thirds vote is required for passage and many of us felt that the votersí voices should be heard. Since it is a resolution, it does not go to the governor and cannot be vetoed.
On that same day, we also passed the House redistricting plan, HB 592. That took most of the afternoon because there were 10 amendments proposed to the bill. Each was thoroughly debated and then voted by roll call. Two committee amendments passed and the floor amendments all failed.
The minority party objected that the 2006 NH constitutional amendment was ignored. That amendment said that any town that has a sufficient population would have its own district with one or more representatives. But that provision was trumped by the federal "one man, one vote" law. That means that as much as possible, each personís vote should be of equal value.
The plan that was passed raised the number of total districts from about 100 to more than 200 statewide and more than doubled the number of towns that would have their own representative(s). The minority party came up with a plan that would have produced more "dedicated" representative towns but they did so by proposing a system called "weighted voting".
Weighted voting would require the imposition of a complex system of percentages and formulas that would mandate that each ballot cast would count for only a fraction of a vote. The result would be, for example, that a vote in Louden would be worth 10 times as much as a vote in Canterbury in the same district. In other words, it would take 10 Canterbury votes to equal one Louden vote. It is obvious on its face that this would be contrary to the "one man, one vote" requirement. The vote on redistricting passed 205-86 late in the day.
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