gas tax

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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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the politics behind a push for an increase to the gas tax from the head of the House Finance Committee. 

The Finance Committee in the New Hampshire House hopes to finish its work on the House’s budget this week. Some of their decisions have been controversial, and there’s even been talk that mustering the votes to pass a budget in the House may be tough.

As of nine o’clock Friday night, motorists no longer had to pay tolls at exit 12 in Merrimack.

The change was included in the state’s new gas tax law, in order to relieve Merrimack residents who had to pay tolls at all three exits in town.

Bill Boynton with the state’s transportation department says after Friday, the exit 12 toll plaza’s three full time employees will begin working at adjacent plazas.  Next month, he says, the state will ask companies to bid for the job of removing the toll plaza, at a cost of about $600,000. 

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As you're paying more at the pump today, you may be wondering where all that extra money is going.

New Hampshire's 4.2 cent increase to the state's gas tax goes into effect July 1.

The increase, the first since 1991, is expected to generate an additional $32 million annually for the state's Department of Transportation.

The legislation that enacted the increase mandates that 42 percent of that money go towards bonding for the widening of Interstate 93.

Gas Tax Hike Brings Protestors

Jun 30, 2014
Halina Loft, NHPR News

New Hampshire’s per gallon tax on gasoline and diesel is going up 4.2 cents July 1. According to Americans for Prosperity, New Hampshire’s economy will pay a price.

Tom Thomson of Orford was among the protestors the conservative group brought to a Hooksett gas station.

Thomson: The power to tax is the power to destroy. By passing Senate Bill 367, we will at best damage the New Hampshire advantage, and worse see businesses suffer and or close; and that equals loss of jobs.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

This week All Things Considered is taking a look at the 2014 legislative session - which key bills passed, which did not, and why.

One item that made it through the legislature this year was a roughly 4 cent increase to the state’s tax on gas and diesel. The law, which takes effect in July, is expected to fund highway improvements for about two years, and pay some of the bonds being used to finish the expansion of Interstate 93.

How it passed

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

On a newly built bridge near interstate 93, Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law the first increase in the state’s gas tax in more than two decades.


www.gencourt.state.nh.us/

State Senator Jim Rausch announced this morning he will not seek re-election.

Ian Ligget / Flickr/CC

N.H. Statehouse Passes Gas Tax

Last week the house voted in favor of a Senate bill, raising the tax by four cents a gallon - and Governor Hassan has said she’ll sign it. We’ll look at the implications of the state’s first gas tax increase in twenty three years.

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The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.

The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.

Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.

New Hampshire’s Speaker of the House is optimistic House lawmakers will pass a Senate proposal to increase the state’s gas tax by 4.2 cents.


A Spotless Gas Pump
Orin Zebest / Flickr Creative Commons

The House highways and tax committees are holding a joint hearing next week on a proposal to raise the tax on gas and diesel by 4 cents.  The hearing will be held Tuesday.   The Senate-passed bill would provide more money over the next two years for highway improvements, then take some of the tax proceeds to pay off $200 million in borrowing toward completion of the I-93 project. Once the debt is paid off in roughly 20 years, the tax hike would expire. The bill would also eliminate the Exit 12 ramp toll booths in Merrimack.

Senate Approves Gas Tax Hike On 15-9 Vote

Mar 27, 2014
konstantine1982 via Flickr CC

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a 4.2-cent hike in the state’s gas tax that would raise an estimated $32 million for roads projects.

The bill also eliminates a set of tolls in Merrimack.

New Hampshire’s gas tax has held steady at 18-cents per gallon since the early 1990s, losing ground to inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Senator Jim Rausch sponsored the plan, which originally envisioned indexing the tax to the inflation rate.

But the Republican from Derry scrapped that plan in favor of a scaled down measure.

    

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about a proposal to increase New Hampshire's gas tax, Scott Brown ramping up his Senate campaign, and Vice President Joe Biden visiting Nashua on Tuesday.

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The state Senate voted 14-9 Thursday to raise New Hampshire’s gas tax by about 4 cents.

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A state Senate committee has recommended passage of a gas tax increase in New Hampshire.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday in favor of the increase.

The 18 cent tax would rise about 4 cents per gallon in July under the bill. It has not been increased since 1991 and is the lowest in New England. That increase is projected to raise $32 million annually for road improvements and the Department of Transportation.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill March 13.

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The state’s Business and Industry Association says it supports a one-time, 4 cent increase to New Hampshire’s gas tax.


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Tuesday morning, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on a bill that would raise the state’s gas tax by a few cents every four years.


NHPR / Michael Brindley

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she would sign a bill to increase the state’s gas tax by roughly 4 cents this year, should it reach her desk.

rob.ewart / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement has long pointed out that when it comes to our infrastructure, we’re not doing too well. Nearly 40% of the state’s roads are considered in poor condition, and almost one hundred and fifty bridges are red listed. Although Clement remains ‘revenue agnostic’ over where the funding comes from, others have a clear idea: raising the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised in New Hampshire in over twenty years.  Supporters say this would be the most comprehensive and fair solution.

nh.gov/dot

A lot of government officials like to speak up about what they’ve accomplished, but our guest today, Christopher Clement, has been speaking up for what he has not been able to do. For the last two and a half years, Clement has served as New Hampshire’s Transportation commissioner, and during that time he’s expressed his frustration over numbers that he says speak for themselves. The department is paving 200 fewer miles of roads each year, there are 145 “red-listed” bridges and nearly 40% of our roads are considered in poor condition.

NHDOT

As discussed on The Exchange this morning, the state legislature is gearing up once again for a debate about raising the gas tax. One big issue behind the debate is the deteriorating state of New Hampshire's roads.

Here is a look back at some reporting on the issue by Emily Corwin last spring, including this video explainer, and below, five reasons our roads are deteriorating.

A Derry Republican is proposing using an inflation formula to increase New Hampshire's gas and diesel tax about 4 cents next July.  

State Sen. Jim Rausch said Thursday that his bill would begin restoring purchasing power to the Department of Transportation. New Hampshire's 18 cent tax is used to maintain highways and bridges, but has not been increased since 1991.  

As lawmakers consider raising the state's gas tax, you may be wondering: are New Hampshire's roads getting worse? Why are they getting harder to pay for? And, does it really matter if we have a few more potholes?

NHPR's newsroom answers those questions in this animation:

The House Ways and Means Committee is considering, Thursday, a smaller tax increase on gas and diesel fuel to pay for highway improvements.


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On Thursday, a House Committee with once again look at a bill for a 15 cent increase in New Hampshire's gas tax.  Supporters say it's high time, the tax hasn't been raised in more than 2 decades and NH's roads and bridges are in serious need of repair.  Opponents however say that this amounts to a 1 billion dollar tax on Granite Staters at a time when the state is recovery slowly from the recession. We'll hear from both sides of this debate.

Guests

North Country legislators split pretty much along party lines Wednesday on whether to increase the gas and diesel tax and use the money to improve roads and bridges.

Ten Democrats voted in favor of an increase. Six Republicans and one Democrat voted against.

The bill passed 207 – 163.

As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reported the House decided to increase the tax on gas and diesel fuel 15 cents per gallon.

The increase would be phased in over four years for gasoline and six years for diesel.

As the NH house readies to vote on a 15 cent increase to the state’s gas tax, Former house speaker Bill O’Brien is pushing to ensure all gas tax money pays for infrastructure.  

Former House speaker Bill O’Brien knows something about diverting gas tax revenue to pay for things other than roads. The state budget he passed as speaker did just that, as so have pretty much every state budget in memory.

But now, as the House stands ready to increase gas taxes for the first time since 1991, O'Brien says it’s time for the practice to stop.

Josh Rogers, NHPR

As the New Hampshire House prepares to vote on a plan to increase the gas tax by 15 cents, the bill’s lead sponsor is working to undo the damage of an email he sent top Democrats where he called the gas tax increase “a gift that keeps on giving.”

Commissioner Christopher Clement of NH DOT testifies before the House committee
Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

The House Committee on Public Works and Highways held a hearing on a bill that would increase the state's gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

The bill would raise 800 million dollars over eight years in new revenue by increasing the state's gas tax by 12 cents over three years and tacking on five dollars to vehicle registration fees.

Representative David Campbell, the bill's primary sponsor, urged lawmakers to pass the legislation, arguing that New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure is in a state of crisis: