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House panel recommends higher gas tax, kills higher registration fee

CONCORD - A bill to raise gas taxes to pay for highway repairs is on its way to the full House of Representatives after a legislative committee stripped the bill of a plan to raise registration fees on motor vehicles.

In return for giving up the increase in registration fees, the House Committee on Public Works and Highways unanimously voted to add a fourth year to its proposed series of gasoline tax increases.

The panel had previously recommended increases of 4 cents per gallon on gasoline over the next three years along with the registration fee hike. Now the bill calls for three years of 4-cent increases followed by a 3-cent increase on July 1, 2016.

The committee vote sends the proposal to the House floor where it needs a round of approval to get to the Ways and Means Committee, which must review all tax measures.

Following that panel's work on the proposal, it needs another House vote before going to the Senate.

Eliminating the registration fee increase means the legislation will raise $20 million less than projected earlier, even with the additional 3-cent gas tax hike in 2016.

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