LACONIA — State Sen. Harold French, who said in a recent interview that he no longer has outstanding tax liens, actually has an $822 lien on his home in Franklin, according to city tax records.
French, a one-term Republican who is running for re-election, is listed as co-owner of a home on South Main Street along with Liberty Jane Tardif.
A payment of $6,345 was made for back taxes on March 15, but this failed to remove the lien as there was an unpaid balance of $758, which grew to $822 with interest.
French, an auctioneer and real estate broker, said pay for New Hampshire legislators is minimal.
“I serve my district for $100 a year,” he said. “It’s always a struggle to keep up. If I owe $800 on my house, I owe $800 on my house.
“To me it’s not important. You’re going to find people who are going to want to discuss everything about me including what I have for breakfast. I look at $800 as not a big deal. It will get paid when I have the money to pay it obviously.”
City records also show a $3,096 property tax bill on the home due on July 2, but not yet paid.
French faces Democrat Mason Donovan in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
French represents Senate District 7, which takes in Andover, Belmont, Boscawen, Canterbury, Franklin, Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury, Webster and Laconia.
Donovan, who owns a farm in Boscawen, paid his property taxes in full in June.
Two years ago, French defeated Democratic incumbent Andrew Hosmer by a razor-thin margin to win the seat.
During that campaign, a check of county deed records showed there were tax liens on several properties French owned and that he owed $57,713 to the Internal Revenue Service.
Earlier this week, he said those liens had been released and were incurred because of his real estate business.
"I've owned 50 properties in my life and I've had tax liens on many of them," he said. "I have no outstanding tax liens at this time. I buy and sell real estate and I let the taxes ride until I sell the property."
He said he's in negotiations with the IRS over federal tax debt, which he said exceeds $50,000.
An organization that backs progressive policies is critical of French on the issue of back taxes.
“Across the state, Granite State families budget responsibly to fulfill their fiscal obligations, but not Sen. Harold French,” said a statement by Granite State Progress. “Over the years, he has owed tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes to at least eight different New Hampshire communities.
“Meanwhile, French voted to give tax breaks to wealthy corporations, which puts more pressure on individual New Hampshire taxpayers to fund basic services, even when neighbors like French do not.”