A Business Flat Tax: True Tax Reform for New Hampshire

Hammer365: 087/278 Taxes Are Done!

Check out our latest study–A Business Flat Tax: True Tax Reform for New Hampshire. Here is Executive Summary:

The holy grail of tax reform is a system that would tax all consumption in the economy a single time. Only one tax reform plan truly meets that definition and has become popularly known as “The Flat Tax.” The Flat Tax was first introduced by economists Robert Hall and Alvin Rabushka in a book by the same name published by the venerable Hoover Institution. Various attempts to enact the Flat Tax at the national level have been attempted such as the Armey-Shelby Flat Tax plan (named for Former Representative Dick Armey of Texas and Senator Shelby of Alabama and the 1996 Steve Forbes Flat Tax plan.

Unfortunately, the broader national tax reform movement has made little progress at the state level. Most state tax reform efforts have simply involved shifting one existing tax into another existing tax with marginal changes that lack a fundamental reexamination of the overall tax structure.

One significant exception to this was New Hampshire’s adoption of the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) in 1993. The BET was created from the ground-up with the goal of creating a true consumption tax. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Bill Ardinger, Stan Arnold, and others, New Hampshire made a tremendous leap forward for the state tax reform movement.

In the intervening 20 years, however, the tax reform movement in New Hampshire has remained incomplete and at times has moved backwards as both the BET and Business Profit Tax (BPT) tax rates have been increased solely as a means for higher tax revenue. Each increase in the tax rate represented a squandered opportunity to completing the path toward a true consumption tax.

Now is the time to continue the push for tax reform as New Hampshire’s economic growth has downshifted under the weight of higher tax rates. In fact, after the 1993 tax reform the average annual growth rate was an astounding 3.8 percent, but has since fallen to an anemic rate of only 1.1 percent. This downshifting has cost New Hampshire households dearly in lost income, which is the true cost of higher taxes.

This study will explain how folding the existing tax structure, including the BPT, BET, the now-defunct Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET), and harmonizing the Interest and Dividends (I&D) tax rate, into a new Business Flat Tax (BFT) would make another dramatic leap in the journey for tax reform. The BFT takes its cues from the national Flat Tax plan that would tax all consumption in the New Hampshire economy a single time at the business level.

New Hampshire is nationally lauded for its low overall tax burden. The enactment of the BFT would also propel New Hampshire’s tax structure into the same level of prominence.

Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Hemingway has already seized our tax reform plan as a way to move New Hampshire’s economy forward. 

Download a pdf of the study here.

New Hampshire Earns a B- for Small Business Friendliness

Chart Showing New Hampshire Small Business Friendliness

New Hampshire gets a B- in new survey for small business friendliness by Thumbtack, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This is the highest grade in New England with Massachusetts earning a D+, Connecticut earning a D, and Rhode Island earning an F. Vermont and Maine were ungraded.

Among the factors New Hampshire earned:
A for ease of starting a business
D+ for ease of hiring
C for regulations
D for health and safety
D+ for employment, labor, and hiring
B+ for tax code
A for licensing
C- for environmental
C+ for zoning
B+ for training and networking programs