The Big Lie - Granite Grok

The Big Lie

For those too young to remember, the Big Lie is an expression for a propaganda technique coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”.

Well, times have certainly changed, or have they?

New Hampshire has had its version of the Big Lie for so long that no one probably remembers, or really wants to remember, when it started or who started it.  But it is definitely a big whopper (with apologies to Burger King)!!

New Hampshire “proudly” holds itself out as one of the few states that does not have a personal income tax.  But that is the state’s infamous Big Lie.

The Interest & Dividends (“I&D”) Tax was enacted by New Hampshire in 1923 and continues to this day.  According to the NH Department of Revenue Administration, the tax is assessed on interest and dividend income at a rate of 5%.  Interest and dividend income of $2,400 ($4,800 for joint filers) is exempt from the I&D tax; and an additional exemption of $1,200 is available to taxpayers who are 65 years of age or older, blind, or younger than age 65 and disabled and unable to work.  And in the most recent year for which numbers are available, the tax produces revenue for the state of between $80 Million and $100 Million per year.  With a recent state budget of $11.7 Billion, the I&D Tax collections constitute only a small fraction of the total state revenues required to fund its bloated expenditures.

So, New Hampshire does, in fact, have a personal income tax.

It hits hardest on those citizens of the state who have had the foresight and thriftiness to put aside some of their earnings for their future needs- seniors and other savers and investors.

And to make matters even worse, now the Democrats in charge of the General Court (at least, hopefully, only for the moment) have recently passed a bill that would include capital gains income along with interest & dividends to be taxed by the I&D Tax.  One of our esteemed Democratic state reps even had the unabashed nerve to claim that such a tax on capital gains was not a tax on income.  At least he seemed to admit openly that he did not really understand economics.  He is obviously a master of the understatement.

If this expansion of the I&D Tax actually makes its way to the Governor’s desk, we can only earnestly hope and pray that the Governor uses his veto pen on this outrage.

As an aside, I well remember an event at my home during the primary season for selection of a Republican candidate for Governor for the 2016 election.  In speaking to one of the candidates, who later failed to prevail in the primary, I mentioned to her that one of my goals as a State Rep was to eliminate the I&D Tax.  She then asked me how I intended to make up the “hole” in the state budget if the I&D Tax were to be eliminated.  When I replied that the logical way to handle that issue was to cut state spending, she seemed genuinely appalled at my answer.  I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that she did not become our state’s governor.

So, the New Hampshire Big Lie continues.

New Hampshire does have a personal income tax and our politicians need to quit the boldface lying to the effect that we do not.

Elections do indeed have consequences.