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NH House Speaker Proposes Temporary Gas Tax Break

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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File Image (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File Image (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Treat Yourself

CONCORD, NH (CBS) – New Hampshire’s House Speaker wants to ease the burden on driver with a temporary gas tax break.

Speaker William O’Brien is proposing a five cent gas tax cut for the next two months.

He came up with the idea as an alternative to a Senate bill that would bring an early end $30 motor vehicle registration surcharge. O’Brien says, “We need and the people of New Hampshire need some gas price relief now.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports

But not everyone is buying into the idea.

Governor John Lynch calls the proposal a gimmick that would help big oil and hurt New Hampshire bridges and roads. “Actually it would hurt the people of NH because it would mean less revenue to spend on our roads and bridges. Lynch says, “I believe what would happen is that there would be no relief at the gas pumps, and we would not be able to spend our revenue in the roads and bridges that need repairs.”

Related: At Least One Boston-Area Gas Station Sees Prices Top $4

And he’s not alone.

Conservative Charlie Arlinghaus, who runs the Josiah Bartlett Center, says, “It’s a well intentioned idea that will have practically no effect.”

How come? Arlinghaus says, “I think what will happen they’ll reduce the tax a nickel but gas prices go up and down so much that oil companies will just raise their prices a nickel and they’ll eat all the money. So you and I won’t get all the money and the oil companies will.”

Is there any way to make sure this does get passed along?

“I think it’s impossible. The gas prices are so volatile, and the NH tax is such a small portion, about 5 percent of the total price of gas, that there is probably no way that it will go directly to the consumer.”

But Speaker O’Brien believes the free market will win out, and pay off for people. “I believe in the free market system. And I believe if a gas station says my costs have gone down $0.05, I’m going to pass that on to have an advantage over the fellow down the street, who doesn’t do that.”

The tax cut would have a $6.6 million impact.

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