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HB 185 does not create additional tax

This response is in reference to letters by Dick Ames and Donald Christian submitted on Feb. 28 and titled, “Background Fuel Oil Tax” and “Enough with these do-good taxes.”.

I’ll start by thanking representatives, Ames, Harry Young, and Doug Ley for having the wisdom to see the value and benefit of HB 185, and to vote in favor of it. And by saying, I share Mr. Christian’s concern regarding taxes.

That being said, I feel it necessary to clarify a couple of matters with regard to HB 185 and the “ODD fund.”

The ODD, “Oil Discharge, Disposal and clean up fund,” is not a fuel oil tax levied on New Hampshire residents.

Rather it is a fee paid by retail and wholesale dealers of fuel oil, kerosene, diesel fuel and gasoline, for every gallon of product purchased by them.

The current fee is .01, (one cent).

HB 185 proposes to increase the fee by .0025, one quarter of a cent.

Further, the fee was .0125 cents until three years ago when legislators voted to decrease it by .0025 cents.

The “Safe Tank Program,” which assists low income individuals replace at risk storage tanks before they fail, and assists the state with a portion of the cost of clean up in the event that they fail, is but one component of the ODD fund.

The Executive Committee of the Oil Heat Council of New Hampshire, on behalf of it’s members, an association of petroleum dealers throughout the state, stand unified in support of HB 185.

As the manager of a retail heating fuel dealer providing products and service to Monadnock region homes, and the current Chairman of the Oil Heat Council, I support the bill as well.

The .0025 cent increase to our industry is a drop in the bucket in relation to the cost incurred of cleaning up spilled product as a result of the failure of inadequate supply tanks.

Since it’s inception the ODD fund been instrumental in helping New Hampshire petroleum companies assist hundreds of low income home owners with the cost of replacing at risk storage tanks over the years, saving the Department of Environmental Services millions of dollars in remediation fees which would have in fact equated to higher taxes on all of us.

John Rider of Keene is Chairman of the Oil Heat Council.

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