CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Senate Ways and Means Committee is going to be taking up on Tuesday the thorny issue of whether to raise New Hampshire’s tax on gas and diesel.
Senate Transportation Chairman Jim Rausch’s bill proposes calculating increases using the Consumer Price Index. His first calculation would be based on the difference in CPI from 2003 to 2013. Later increases would be every four years and Rausch estimates they would average a penny.
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.
Rausch, a Derry Republican, wants the trucking industry to support his proposed increase or face reductions in the amount of cargo they can haul on New Hampshire highways.
Rausch has promised to work to reduce maximum truck weights below 104,000 pounds if his bill to increase the tax fails. Rausch says that isn’t a threat. He says if there isn’t more money to maintain New Hampshire’s roads something else has to be done and lowering the weights trucks can carry would cause them less damage.
Bob Sculley, president of the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association, says the proposed increase would hurt the trucking industry. He calls Rausch’s promise retaliatory.
Senate Ways and Means Chairman Bob Odell is expecting the committee to support the bill if an amendment is adopted to remove indexing the increases, which drew the strongest opposition.
The Senate will vote on the bill March 13, which would still need House approval if passed. Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she will sign it.
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