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Letter: Background on fuel oil tax

To the editor:

Frank Sterling wrote recently about my vote, and that of Harry Young and Doug Ley, in support of House Bill 185 (HB185), a bill that proposes to raise the tax on imported fuel oil by a quarter of a penny per gallon. Some background on HB185 may be helpful.

The House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee supported this bill with a 14-0 bipartisan vote. Here is the Committee’s report to the House: “This bill reinstates a lapsed .25 cent fee increase over the original 1.0 cent fee per gallon of fuel oil imported into New Hampshire to help pay for cleanup of fuel oil spills and to fund the state’s Safe Tank Program which helps to replace or bring into compliance residential fuel oil tanks in danger of release, for means-tested, lower income families. The fuel oil discharge fund, due to diminishing imports and decreased demand for fuel oil over other types of fuel, has suffered from revenue losses and was dropping to a level endangering the state’s ability to effectively deal with these types of releases.” I joined the majority of the House to vote in support of this bill on February 7.

The February 7 vote was not the final House vote on this bill. Because HB 185 calls for a fee increase, it has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee for further review. I sit on that Committee along with Harry Young. Today, the committee will hold a public hearing on the bill. I and the other committee members will consider all testimony, vote on the bill, and then the bill will go back to the House for a second and final House vote on the issue.

Dick Ames


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