To The Daily Sun,
To quote James Carville, campaign manager for Bill Clinton 1992, "It's the economy, stupid".
Bristol's economic development has been focused narrowly on the downtown project, which I recently referred to at meet the candidate's as the "Field of Dreams" approach — "If you build it they will come."
As owner and operator of two seasonal businesses in Bristol, I understand some of the challenges that businesses' face. The foremost challenge is a rising municipal tax rate. This dramatically cuts into the profit margins of any seasonal business, rising tax rates are passed through in the form of higher tax obligation to owner-occupied establishments or higher rents if not.
A recent article in The Laconia Sun stated that even during the recession with increasing costs that have been pushed down by the state, we were able to keep the budget level. While doing this our tax rate was and still is in the bottom third in the state. I have heard that statement before about Bristol having a tax rate in the bottom third of the state, so I decided to go to the department of revenue and look up the numbers.
Yes, our overall tax rate is in the bottom third when you look at 250 communities in New Hampshire. That said, let's break down how we achieved the bottom third rating. Four tax rates make up that overall rating as measured by the department of revenue: school, state, county, and municipal. We have no control over two of the tax elements — county and state — and vote regionally on the school budget to establish our school tax rate.
Look at the data and you will quickly see that the school tax rate is low relative to other communities in the state and is the explanation for how we achieved the lower-third rating. When you look at the town tax rate which is the office were all seeking, then you will see that were actually in the 77th percentile of most expensive towns in the state.
Bristol School 86 of 256 - 33.6 percent in the state; Bristol Town 199 of 256 - 76.6 percent in the state; Bristol overall 101 of 256 - 39.5 percent in the state.
Candidate for Selectman