Jewish World Review March 8, 2004 / 15 Shevat, 5764

Bernadette Malone

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Will Vermont town start national annex trend?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Whoever said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery never received a request from a whole town smack dab in the middle of another state to become part of his family. No, what Killington, Vt., did Tuesday is surely the highest form of flattery — for New Hampshire.

How deliciously ironic: On the same day Vermonters gave their former tax and spend governor, Howard Dean, his one and only Presidential primary victory, the 1,100-member Vermont town of Killington voted to become part of New Hampshire so it could lower its taxes by about $10 million.

It's not even a border town that just wants the state line redrawn. Killington, nationally famous for its wonderful skiing, is 35 miles inside the high-tax kingdom Dean ran until he stepped aside to run for President last year.

But so be it, and welcome, Killington, N.H., I say! Who can blame the overtaxed Killingtonians for wanting to annex themselves to the Granite State, which has the lowest tax burden in the country after Alaska?

Maybe other localities will follow in Killington's footsteps and petition New Hampshire for refuge. How glorious for New Hampshire, to be beseeched by tax-strangled towns all over the country.

New Hampshire could be choosy: Yes to Tahoe, N.H. No to Newark, N.H.

Topeka, N.H.? Fine. Detroit, N.H.? Not on your life! Ah, to live in Key Biscayne, N.H.!

New Hampshire could become to tax refugees what San Francisco's City Hall has become to gays with the itch to get hitched — THE place to go.

To heck with the folks who don't understand New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" attitude. On a reporting trip to Howard Dean's last major New Hampshire campaign rally, held at Phillips Exeter Academy the eve of the primary, I met a young Dean press aide who used to work at The Washington Post and who was astounded that Granite Staters care so much about taxes. "I've never been anywhere this cold," he told me.

"I can't believe they sat up here with muskets and fought a war over taxes, of all things! I would have been outta here, headed that way!" I guess he pointed south, toward Washington, D.C., where he probably learned his apathy for taxes.

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Killington understands why people camped out with muskets to fight a war over taxes, which is why it wants to affiliate with New Hampshire. New Hampshire even has its own modern tax rebels.

Remember Dover resident Victor Bourre, who invaded Maine in 2001 with a seven-man militia, and claimed Seavey Island for New Hampshire over taxes? Having been voted the "general" of the militia, he went to Seavey Island in the Piscataqua River in the dead of night and raised the New Hampshire state flag.

Bourre had worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey Island for years and was forced to pay Maine income tax — even though he was a resident of New Hampshire, and the islands in the Piscataqua used to belong to New Hampshire in colonial days.

Maine swipes between $5 million and $7 million a year from out-of-state residents who work there, in part by also taxing all their family's income — even if the other family members live AND work outside Maine.

Bourre, carrying the spirit of Live Free or Die a pinch far, threatened to overthrow Gov. Jeanne Shaheen by force after he delivered his new manifesto to her doorstep. For peace's sake, thankfully, voters had the chance to overthrow her first, when she ran for U.S. Senate in 2002.

Not everything is perfect, tax-wise, in New Hampshire despite the absence of a state income tax and sales tax. The local property tax situation was so badly manipulated by the courts in the 1990s that two towns, Newington and Rye, actually contemplated secession from the state.

Where would they have gone? Nowhere. They would have just become U.S. territories, like Guam. Because as far as states go, it doesn't get any better than New Hampshire in the lower 48.

What a great honor to have a Vermont town flee Dean's legacy for New Hampshire, on Super Tuesday no less. Now, if "Taxachusetts" towns would start to defect to New Hampshire during John Kerry's Presidential campaign, that would be real fun.



Comment on JWR contributor Bernadette Malone's column by clicking here.

Up

01/26/04: Kerry wins debate by being mediocre
01/19/04: "Old style politics" has gotta go?
01/12/04: Prez mocks legal immigrants
01/06/04: New year, but the chattering class' ennui already kicking in
11/10/03: Time for "diversity" for GOPers?
11/03/03: Two cheers for loopy loudmouth Sharpton
10/20/03: And who can blame them?
10/07/03: Irony seems to have been lost on most in ‘leakgate’
09/30/03: Will the Dems finally produce an alpha male before it's time to name a nominee who can scare Bush?
09/23/03: ‘K Street’ will reinforce American cynicism
09/09/03: When real life starts to imitate virtual reality, itís time to reboot

© 2003, Bernadette Malone