New Hampshire typically ranks among the wealthiest and healthiest states in the country, but, according to gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley, the Granite State boasts one distinction that isn’t as complimentary.
In a candidate forum last week in Nashua, Cilley, a former state senator, took aim at New Hampshire’s tax structure and, specifically, the property tax, which she claimed ranks among the nation’s highest.
"We have the third highest (property tax) in the country," Cilley, a Barrington Democrat, told the audience gathered Monday, July 16, 2012 at Nashua City Hall.
"That is not the way to fund a government," she said.
On its face, the claim seems feasible. New Hampshire is one of nine states in the country without an income tax. The Granite State is one of five without a statewide sales tax, and it’s one of only two, along with Alaska, without either.
This leaves New Hampshire legislators leaning heavily -- too heavily, according to some -- on property taxes as a revenue source. But are the Granite State’s property taxes really the nation’s third highest? We decided to look at the numbers.
Currently, New Hampshire is one of 37 states to charge property taxes at both the state and local level.
Because the local taxes vary from town to town or county to county, it’s difficult to identify a total state property tax rate. Instead, tax analysts determine property tax rankings based on the average amounts collected from each taxpayer.
And, based on 2009 data -- the most recent available -- New Hampshire property taxes do rank among the country’s highest.