Sep 24, 2014 6:23 PM

Pledge to veto NH sales or income tax has dominated gubernatorial campaigns

The vaunted pledge to veto a sales or income tax has dominated campaigns for governor for the past 45 years. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in 2000 is the only one to win election after refusing to take it when she secured a third term as governor.

Governor Maggie Hassan balked at the anti-tax pledge as a first-time candidate for State Senate but she then embraced it to win that same seat twice and in both her campaigns for governor.

Havenstein said Hassan's spending practices threaten to put the state on a course to need a new tax for pay for her promises. But the two-year state budget she's operating from came with overwhelming, bipartisan support including the vote of all 13 Republicans in the State Senate.

Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, criticized Hassan for entering into settlements of separate lawsuits that hospitals and advocates for the disabled had brought against the state.
Morse says those settlements threaten to saddle the state next year with up to a $100 million deficit.

Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said Senate Republicans voted for legislation that brought those settlements about.
He called Havenstein's new pledge political `puffery 2.0.''
It was Havenstein when he entered the race last spring who had called the broad base tax pledge ``puffery.''
Havenstein says his point was that an anti-tax pledge is an empty promise unless the governor is committed to spending only what the state can afford.
This debate over the state finances should heat up at the end of this week when the Legislative Fiscal Committee will hear from the Hassan administration as to whether the state budget had come into balance on June 30.


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