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Gas Tax Falls Flat In N.H. House

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The House Finance Committee is heading back to the drawing board to come up with the money to avert deep funding cuts and hundreds of layoffs within New Hampshire's Department of Transportation.

DOT officials say the $88 million reduction from the Governor's proposed budget would result in more than 700 layoffs and severely limit road maintenance. 

During Wednesday's House session, House Speaker Shawn Jasper of Hudson disallowed the debate over the gas tax, he said, for procedural reasons 

The plan to raise 7 to 8 cents to the state’s gas tax, which was spearheaded by Finance Chairman Republican Neal Kurk, faced a lot of opposition within the GOP majority.

But Jasper said he didn’t make his decision because he feared the gas tax would be defeated. “I wanted to have this debate, but the reality was it wouldn’t be proper because it wasn’t germane,” he said.

Kurk said he plans to restore $68 million dollars to the DOT, which will have to come from money that has already been allocated to other departments.

The committee is scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to work on the budget before it hits the floor next week. 

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