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With stagnant population, Laconia needs to look at tax potential

  • Published in Letters
To the editor,
In 1950 the population of Laconia was about 14,750 people. In 2010 the reported number was about 15,950. During that same interval, Concord grew from about 28,000 residents to 42,800. From 1950 to 2010 the population of New Hampshire has increased from 533,000 to 1,316,000. Perhaps Laconia's remarkably stable number of residents can be primarily attributed to the city's boundaries. Lots of water and other communities have us boxed in. While Laconia's population has grown by about 8 percent in 60 years, the government's need for more tax dollars has increased dramatically.
I wasn't a resident in 1950, but since moving to town in 1984 I've seen the cost in living, expressed in taxes, multiply. Certainly this situation is not unique to Laconia. I'm confident those most concerned with gathering revenue for city government understand Laconia's future does not include increasing the number of taxpayers. The goal must be having a citizen base that can pay higher taxes. Using only this ability to pay criteria, government would offer a warmer welcome to a childless, professional couple in their mid forties who extensively renovates an existing home than a single parent with three young children renting in a multi-family dwelling.
In Laconia's case, if government wants more money to spend it must work for it. This could be accomplished by reviewing every property to determine it's current status and how to increase taxability. Revising zoning ordinances and modifying building permits could significantly improve tax potential.
Is government better off taxing a used car lot or vacation condos? Some innovation aimed at a practical goal could result in the ideal situation. Government would be dealing with a declining population and greater tax revenue.
Tom Becker