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House committee shoots down 33% beer tax hike

CONCORD - The House Ways and Means Committee has voted overwhelmingly against an increase in the state beer tax.

The committee, which serves as gatekeeper for proposed tax legislation, voted 14-2 to declare the bill "inexpedient to legislate."


Ways and Means Chairman Barbara Almy, D-Lebanon, said members were concerned about the financial impact of a beer tax that is "considerably higher" than most nearby states. Supporters of the tax now face a tough task. Passing a beer tax requires rounding up enough votes to overturn the Ways and Means Committee recommendation, and a promised veto by Gov. Hassan means a two-thirds majority would ultimately be required in each branch for the beer tax hike to make it into law.

The legislation would raise the state's tax on a wholesale gallon of beer from 30 cents to 40 cents. The additional tax would be used to fund alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has threatened to veto any increase in the beer tax. Now, with the Ways and Means Committee's 14-2 vote against, it is very unlikely the bill will ever make it to her desk.


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