Gas Tax

LFDA Editor

A bill to increase the state's gasoline tax, SB 367, was signed into law in 2014.

The tax (officially known as the road toll) had stood at 18 cents per gallon since 1991. The tax was increased to 22.2 cents per gallon, effective July 2014.

The increase is projected to generate $32 million in annual revenue. Here's a breakdown on where the revenue will be spent*:

  • 42% for bonding for the I-93 widening project
  • 33% to municipalities for local road and bridge repair
  • 25% to repair secondary state roads in 2015-16

The primary sponsor of SB 367 was Sen. Jim Rausch (R-Derry). The measure passed the House (193-141) and Senate (15-9) before it was signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan. The law also removes the Everett Turnpike's toll at Exit 12 in Merrimack and creates a commission to study the efficiency of the Department of Transportation. The 4-cent increase is to be repealed in 20 years, or when the I-93 project bonding is paid off.

NH ranks 32nd in the nation for motor fuel taxes, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

*Source: Concord Monitor 

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

By LFDA Editor

The call for a road toll increase was brought on by a nearly $50 million funding shortfall in the Department of Transportation. DOT Commissioner Christopher Clement warned of hundreds of layoffs, the closure of highway sheds and the elimination of 6 of 13 bridge maintenance crews unless revenue increased.

"Against" Position

By LFDA Editor

Opponents of a gas tax increase argue that the increase would unfairly burden low-income residents.

"I continue to oppose any increase in the gas tax; I believe it hurts the families of New Hampshire who can least afford it, and it burdens our businesses trying to make ends meet in a fragile economy," Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) said in a statement (Dec 2013).

Opponents of a gas tax increase also argue that the state could reallocate existing revenue to pay for infrastructure repairs.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Tabled in the House

Establishes a road usage fee ranging from $0 to $123.33, based on a vehicle's miles per gallon, as part of annual car registration. The fee would go to construction and maintenance of state roads and bridges.

Signed by Governor

Repeals the gas tax exemption for federal government fuel purchases, except for the armed forces.

Interim Study

Establishes a road usage fee for motor vehicles registered to travel on state roads based on the equivalent miles per gallon of the vehicle.

Interim Study

Establishes prepaid road tolls for motor vehicles powered by alternative energy sources, such as batteries, solar cells, and natural gas.

Signed by Governor

Establishes a commission to study revenue alternatives to the gas tax for the funding of the state’s highways and bridges.

Killed in the House

Repeals the increase in the gas tax passed in 2014 and eliminates funding for highway projects supported by the increase.

Signed by Governor

Increases the gas tax by four-cents per gallon and removes the toll at Exit 12 in Merrimack.

Signed by Governor

Imposes the road toll (a.k.a. gas tax) on vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as natural gas and propane.

Interim Study

Adds a road toll fee for hybrid and electric vehicles at the time of registration.

Interim Study

Creates a committee to study alternatives to the gas tax for infrastructure funding.

Killed in the House

Requires that all gas tax revenue be spent on infrastructure repairs. This bill would eliminate gas tax revenue for the Department of Safety.

Was NH right to raise the gas tax in 2014?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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AGAINST
REPRESENTATIVES

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Comments

tomt94's picture
Tom Thomson
- Orford

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 1:37pm

It’s simple, sign the Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire (AFP-NH) petition. Just go to our website at www . stopnhgastax . com.

This will take less than two minutes and as the Honorary Chair of AFP-NH, I encourage each and every hardworking New Hampshire citizen to sign the Gas/Diesel Tax Petition today and then forward this website to all your family members, neighbors and friends and encourage them to sign and pass it on.

In March of 2009 the NH Democrats who held control of the Legislature tried to pass a Gas/Diesel Tax.  Now three years later in a continued recession with the Democrats again in power they are back trying to saddle our citizens once again with the largest Gas/Diesel Tax ever.  If HB 617 passes, which Rep. David Campbell (D) of Nashua is the key sponsor of, it will lead to a 15 cent jump per gallon or an increase of 83% in the Gas/Diesel Tax.

If the current New Hampshire Gas/Diesel Tax, which already is 18 cents per gallon, was used 100% for our roads and bridges we would not be discussing this issue today. What has happened over the years is simply a diversion of the Gas/Diesel Tax funds for other programs.

Since Rep. Campbell first introduced the Gas/Diesel Tax in early 2009 (which was defeated), gas and diesel prices have doubled, and now in 2013 he would like to add additional pain at the pump by increasing the tax by a whopping 83%.

For businesses that depend on diesel to operate their large trucks hauling all kinds of products and produce such as forest, farm, home heating oil and groceries just to name a few, they will see additional cost if HB 617 passes. Some truckers could see up to 15 dollars a day increase per truck which will have to be passed on to you the consumer.

Remember everything we consume moves on diesel, sometimes as many as four to five times during processing before we the consumer purchase the item.

In my recent testimony opposing HB 617 I said, “The prospect facing New Hampshire families is not only will it cost them more to fill up their tank to drive to the store, but when they get there, everything they need to purchase will be more expensive as well.” This is not the time to be raising any tax on our citizens.

You can help stop the Gas/Diesel Tax by signing the petition on our website, www . stopnhgastax . com.  Please do it today and ask others to do the same; you’ll be glad you did.

 

Tom Thomson

AFP-NH Honorary Chairman

Orford, NH

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Wed, 02/27/2013 - 9:00pm

I have seen many yard signs that called for support and protection of middle class.  The signs, I believe, were those of the state Democratic Party.  After all, that Party have always claimed that they are for the middle class, fighting the good fight for them.

Now that the Democratic Party is in control of the State House, they have promptly introduced a bill to raise your gas taxes by 15 cents a gallon. I am sure the middle class in the state is doing great in coping with gas already over $3.50 and climbing.  I am sure they have no problem in shelling out $50 or more filling their tanks so that they can go to work (if they still have work) and try to make their ends meet.  

What the heck!  Add another 15 cents to a gallon of gas.  The middle class can afford it.  I think they also have a bill that would enhance the tolls.

Oh! Don't forget the seniors on fixed income.  They can easily afford to spend 15 cents more per gallon of gas.  More of them will become shut-ins because they couldn't stretch their income.  The same people to get their votes will promise them more state aid!

The two political parties exist for only one thing; to get their members elected, to gain power and distribute the taxes that the government collects under the force of the law to their special interest groups so that those groups in turn would help them win elections to keep them in power.  They don't care a whit about the middle class or ordinary people unless of course if they are part of the special interest groups.

The state spends over $5B every year but always cries for more.  There is never enough money that could be collected from the taxpayers of the state.  It collects gas taxes and motor fees of all kinds but never have enough to fix bridges and roads.  The state has even stopped paying into the retirement system.  The state collects millions from oil companies for their use of MBTE chemical additives.  Not enough, though!.

The motto in the private industries where money cannot be raised by the force of law is, do more with less.  In contrast, with the state government, that motto is do less with more.

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:49pm

Can we get someone that can manage his department without resorting to fear-mongering and political posturing?  I am talking about DOT Commissioner, Christopher Clement.  He says that he has a $20M problem with his budget and he wants to increase gas tax and/or tolls and if he can not get it he would have to shut down 20 highway sheds and one of the district offices.  Commissioner, you are in charge.  Your budget is well over $500M counting the federal highway funds.  The shortfall represents 4% of your budget.  Figure out a way to get 4% productivity out of your operation.  By the way, that is how the real world works and still pays the taxes and tolls.  The reason that you are the Commissioner (apart from perhaps politically well connected) is so that you can make the tough decisions and whining about not having enough is not one of them.  You see, people that pay the tolls and gas taxes find it necessary to manage their own budgets and they do so in spite of ever-increasing costs (we don't have taxing authority) by forgoing something to make ends meet.  The state government has already down-shifted their mandated costs to the local taxpayers, NHRS for example.  I think we pay enough gas taxes and tolls.  One other shenanigan that caught my eye in this story was the part about "selling" the I-95 bridge to the Turnpike System for $30 Million.  Isn't that fraudulent? How can one state govt. entity "sell" to another state government entity unless to circumvent the laws?  You see, in private sector, people will go to jail for that.  You also said that your department has maxed out the bonding operation to sustain the adopted operating budget.  

Mr. Clement, let me humbly submit to you that there will be no let up in your department's demand for more taxes, just as there will be no let up in demand for more taxes of every kind from the state, every year.  By the way, you should have testified in front of the Medicaid Committee since your own experience makes you hesitate about the future availability of federal highway funds.  Shouldn't we conclude then that future expanded Medicaid payment by the Feds is just as unreliable and will burden us with more future taxes?

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 9:38pm

New Hampshire legislature pushed by the Democratic Party members (who are the most compassionate, for the working people, for the middle class and "we hate the rich") is increasing the gas tax by only 4 cents a gallon.  In that process, they promised that the funds raised will only be used to fix the bridges and roads.  How wonderful!  We don't have to worry about its diversion into general funds where it gets turned into votes through special favors to their favorite groups.

If we believe that, we might as well declare ourselves stupid to recognize the politicians' scams.

The lottery winnings are earmarked for education.  The mortgage fee that they collect under the guise of environmental protection is of course used for that purpose only.  The original fuels tax on diesel and gas was also required to be used for roads and bridges.  The tobacco settlement was supposed to be used for smoking cessation education but it disappears in the general funds.    With that kind of challenged honesty and integrity under the golden dome in Concord, we are asked to believe in the newly minted bait and switch gas tax scam.

There is another such scam brewing in the court rooms.  It has to do with the MTBE settlement with the Exxon Mobile for hundreds of millions of dollars.  The law suit that is bearing dollar harvest for the state is based on alleged water contamination of the gas additive MTBE.  That additive was approved for use by the EPA to reduce potential smog (and New Hampshire approved it) and was found to potentially contaminate the ground water.  You might ask how come Exxon Mobile is being taken to court for using an approved product!  The only thing you need to know is that the company has deep pockets.  However Exxon Mobile is requiring the settlement amount be exclusively used for ground water remediation efforts.  But the lawmakers at Concord is too tempted to give those funds up for water pollution remediation.  New Hampshire is arguing for settlement dollars without any restrictions as they claim that Exxon Mobile has no standing to determine the level of expenditure of the state.  Another tobacco settlement windfall in the offing!  For a full reporting on that story, please refer to an article published in the Union Leader on April 2 by Lisa A. Rickard, President of the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

The trouble with our government is lack of accountability - fraudulent schemes must carry jail terms for those perpetrating the schemes by deceiving the public.  Those types of scams in a private enterprise will result in prosecutions because those same lawmakers had passed laws to deal with them.  However, they have exempted themselves from those laws.  It is clear that elections are not enough of a deterrent with fully entrenched party patronage schemes to special interest groups.

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Issue Status

Faced with plummeting gas prices and the rising popularity of more fuel-efficient vehicles, lawmakers looking for an alternative to the traditional gas tax proposed a road usage fee, HB 621, which would have levied a charge of $0 to $123.33 annually on vehicles registered in New Hampshire, based on their average miles-per-gallon. The bill was tabled in the House. 

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