The Senate has passed a bill 14-10 that would remove a tax provision brought to the legislators’ attention last week by Planet Fitness.
The New Hampshire based gym franchise, who recently decided to go public, told lawmakers that if the provision remained on the books, they would leave the state.
Currently 200 jobs would be lost if the company moved headquarters. The company, which began in Dover in 1992, has more than 950 locations nationwide.
The measure is aimed to remove a provision that would exempt businesses from being taxed on the share they sell to a corporate partner once they go public.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says if this provision isn’t changed – it will continue to drive away businesses.
“It’s very detrimental and it is a Draconian tax on a New Hampshire business,” he told colleagues before the vote.
Critics argue that this measure would create another loophole in the state's tax code that would further benefit big businesses. Many also are criticized how late in the process this provision was introduced as well as the backing by former N.H. Governor Craig Benson, who advocated for the move during last week's hearing. Benson is a board member for Planet Fitness.
Before the vote, Senate President Chuck Morse stressed to colleagues that the provision will be fine-tuned in committee conference.
Governor Maggie Hassan issued a statement after the vote saying, "While we want to do everything that we can to keep the Planet Fitness corporate headquarters and its high-quality jobs here in New Hampshire, we cannot hastily and without full transparency make drastic changes to our tax laws due to a last-minute request from one company without a deeper analysis of the fairness to other tax-paying businesses in the Granite State and the impact to the state’s budget."
The Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to take this issue up Friday morning.