To the editor:

When is an income tax not an income tax? I’ll give you the answer further down. We have seen this question raised in the argument about the proposed SB 1 legislation that would create an income tax disguised as a family medical leave plan.

SB 1 provided for up to 12 weeks of paid leave at up to 60 percent of a worker’s salary. Employees could use the benefit for the birth a child, to take care of a sick family member or to manage their own illness. 

This Democratic plan was paid for with a mandated 0.5 percent tax on wages for ALL New Hampshire employees, and that includes your child working a summer job. It would cost employees and businesses an estimated $168 million per year. And I should also mention that the program would require over 40 new state employees and start-up costs of over $15 million.

There is good news and bad news about this plan. The good news is that Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed SB 1 a few days ago. The bad news is that the Democrat majority in the N.H. House will soon have a vote to try to override the veto. There is more bad news, however. The governor did provide for a Family Leave Plan in his budget. The Democrats removed Sununu’s voluntary family leave plan (with no new taxes) from his proposed budget and replaced it with their income tax-funded plan. The House passed this budget a couple of weeks ago, and it is now being considered by the N.H. Senate.

You will note that I have termed the Democrat plan funding as an “income tax.” The Democrats, however, have been doing their best to find alternative descriptions. 

There was a recent letter from Rep. Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom) in which he argued that it was not an income tax but just an “insurance premium.” It is an insurance premium like workers compensation insurance, he said. 

There are even better description examples from the Democrats. State Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord), author of SB 1, described it as simply a “payroll deduction.” But my favorite came from Rep. Harrison Kanzler (D-Conway). In his speech supporting SB 1 on the House floor, he indicated that this was not an income tax but simply a tax on wages. You can’t make this stuff up.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines an income tax as “a tax on the money that a person earns from working.” Or to paraphrase a common saying: If it is a deduction from wages like an income tax and is a government-imposed deduction like an income tax, it is an income tax. As Sununu defined it, “the Democrats’ mandatory paid leave plan that automatically deducts wages … runs against our ‘Live Free or Die’ spirit and is a direct tax on income.” How do you define an income tax?

So back to my original question of when an income tax is not an income tax, clearly the answer is when its proposed by a Democrat.

Rep. Glenn Cordelli 

Carroll District 4

Tuftonboro

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