Republican House budget writers are hoping to convince their colleagues to support an increase in the state's gas tax to avoid hundreds of layoffs and decreased road maintenance.
The House will debate the gas tax as part of a bill cutting $88 million from Gov. Maggie Hassan's proposed budget for the Department of Transportation. That cut would significantly lower what is in the state's highway fund, which officials say would have dire consequences for basic road and bridge maintenance.
Top Republicans on the House Finance Committee say they are prepared to support the tax increase on the floor but did not want to include it in their version of the budget. Democrats, however, say the move is risky and doubt whether Republicans have enough votes to pass a tax increase.