Republican state Sen. Jim Rausch will champion a bill next year for an increase in New Hampshire’s gas tax, according to the Concord Monitor.
“I’m doing this because I feel I have an obligation to solve a problem,” Rausch told reporters.
Rausch’s bill, which he plans to introduce next month, is likely to attract plenty of opposition from state senate Republicans, who defeated a gas-tax increase bill earlier this year.
Senate President Chuck Morse, a Republican, said he wouldn’t block Rausch’s bill from being introduced, but he didn’t sound supportive.
“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,” Morse said in a statement. “I recognize there are senators who may disagree with the sentiment, and I look forward to the discussion next session.”
“This was my effort to solve a problem that was logical, and it’s based on trying to restore purchasing power that has eroded since the last tax increase in 1991,” Rausch said. “And rather than just pick a number out of the air, I wanted to do it based on . . . the Consumer Price Index, how the dollar has eroded.”
Rausch estimated the increase would be about 4 cents to start in 2014, and then the rate would be automatically adjusted by a penny or so every four years starting in 2018. Each 1-cent increase would add roughly $7 million a year to the New Hampshire DOT’s revenue.