Gas Tax, Gas Tax, Gas Tax! Bill O’Brien Has An Amendment for HB 617

...Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien
Bill O’Brien

Former House Speaker Bill O’Brien has submitted a proposed amendment to HB 617 the New Hampshire Democrats massive gas tax hike.   It would require all taxes raised to go to the Highway Department for roads and bridges.   (From Facebook)

This morning I sent the following email to all other state representatives. I would like to share it with you.

If you agree, please contact your local state representative and ask him to vote on Wednesday for the O’Brien Amendment to HB 617, which will avoid an 83% gas tax increase, the largest tax increase in NH state history.

Here’s the email and the amendment is attached to this posting:

Dear Colleagues,

All of us are, or should be, concerned over the necessity of the $1 billion gas tax increase in HB 617. Many of us are looking for an alternative that will address the requirement that we maintain our highways and bridges while avoiding what apparently would be the biggest tax increase in New Hampshire history.

One alternative – perhaps the only alternative – is that we stop raiding the highway fund for spending not directly related to road construction and repairs.

I have had drafted the attached floor amendment to HB 617 to do just that. This amendment will require that all highway fund appropriations after the local highway block grant aid will be given to the Department of Transportation for highway construction and repairs. Again, the highway block grant aid to our towns and cities under RSA 235:23 will be preserved, but we will use all of the reminder of highway fund appropriations for our red listed bridges and other pressing highway needs.

The amendment has been through OLS and is waiting for a final list of co-sponsors. We will have a news conference tomorrow (Tuesday, March 5) at 10:00 am in the LOB to discuss the amendment. Please attend if you have any questions.

This should not be a partisan exercise dividing us as Republicans from Democrats, liberals from conservatives or on any other basis. We should all agree to keep our roads repaired. We also should all agree to use the funds we have raised for that purpose and not to raise additional taxes if what we have now is adequate for the purpose we tell people that they are being taxed. If we recapture the five or six cents per gallon gas tax that are now being siphoned out of the highway fund, there will be more funds for the highway fund this upcoming biennium than under HB 617 tax increase.

Let’s bring back all the highway appropriations to the highway fund instead of going to the people of NH, who have just experienced the largest federal tax increase ever, to say we now are going to give you the largest state tax increase ever.

I ask for your support of Floor Amendment 2013-0630h to HB 617 because it will allow us to repair and build highways without this onerous tax increase.

-Bill O’Brien

The most intriguing bit about this is that  there will be a vote, and it will be a roll call vote, and we shall see who thinks what about Mr. O’brien’s amendment.   If I follow the thread correctly, they will need to suspend rules to admit the amendment, a vote which will more than telling as to whether or not New Hampshire Democrats believe strongly that the idea of dedicated funds is important.

I’m going with no, they don’t, and they will try to use the rules vote as cover.  They want to be able to raid highway funds while insisting their opponents are evil and want you to die in a bridge collapse because there are no highway funds.  But if they refuse to secure them, that is as good as a vote to pilfer them indefinitely.

Preview Amendment here

Download a copy here