Cilley and the (No Tax) Pledge
02-16-2012
In an editorial in the Concord Monitor yesterday, the paper took issue with state downshifting of costs and an excessive reliance on property taxes to fund local services. In doing so, the Monitor also gave a tip of the hat to newly-announced Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former state senator Jackie Cilley of Barrington, for refusing to pledge that she would veto any broad-based sales or income tax as governor. Cilley’s only primary opponent at this point, former senate Democratic leader Maggie Hassan of Exeter, has already pledged to veto any such revenue legislation as governor.
 
While Cilley’s pledge will likely energize New Hampshire progressives who have long argued for the fairness of a statewide income tax, most Granite State political observers already know how this issue will play in a general election. What complicates Cilley’s position further from a campaign perspective is that she is not actually advocating a new broad-based tax, but only wants to retain the freedom in office to have a discussion about all possible legislative options. This is an important bit of nuance that I can almost guarantee will be lost in translation in the heat of a general election campaign. For any Republican running against Cilley, it will be a distinction without a difference. Suffice it to say that Cilley will need to clarify her position on the likelihood of a broad-based tax, if she wants to avoid having her campaign completely derailed by this issue in the coming months.


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