Madam Chairwoman, members of the Committee, my name is Corey Lewandowski and I am the State Director of Americans for Prosperity in New Hampshire and a resident of the town of Windham. I am here today to express my support of HB 593 which would establish a committee to study extending the due date for final property tax bills. The concept behind this study committee is simple – if final property tax bills are due within 30 days of town meeting, taxpayers are much more likely to be concerned and aware of how and where their money is being spent.
There is a common adage that “Government closest to the people governs best.” We in New Hampshire can attest to that fact. We are fortunate to function within a system dating back hundreds of years where groups of individuals gather together to make decisions about issues affecting their lives and their communities. We know this of course as the town meeting.
Every year in New Hampshire, traditionally in mid-March, the people in our towns keep this important tradition alive. To many this is the purest form of democracy. Records indicate that town meetings were taken seriously from their inception – attendance was often mandatory and absence could be punishable by a fine. Our founders knew that Jefferson’s words were accurate when he said, “An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.”
As such, they did all they could to encourage an active and engaged citizenry.
Along these same lines, by more closely aligning the due date of the final property tax bill and the date of town meetings, we will encourage a more active and engaged citizenry. We will better equip and enable taxpayers to follow their tax dollars more closely throughout the process, engage and ask questions about local spending and hold government more accountable for how their tax dollars are allocated in the coming year. By making this simple change we will shift power back to the hands of the taxpayers in these communities.
Establishing a committee to study extending the due date for final property tax bills will allow all the relevant stakeholders and decision makers to weigh in on how best to pursue this change with minimal disruption and cost to those administering it.
We strongly encourage you to pass HB 593 and take the first significant step toward empowering our taxpayers at the local level.