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Senate passes bill to kill tax on interest, dividends

By Dave Solomon
State House Bureau

February 22. 2018 8:25PM

CONCORD — The state Senate on Thursday voted 12-9 to phase out the state tax on interests and dividends over the next five years.

The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for further review, and would also have to clear the House and its committees before heading to Gov. Chris Sununu for his signature.

The bill calls for a 20 percent reduction in the tax each year starting in 2020, leading to complete repeal by 2024.

Although New Hampshire does not have a tax on earned income, a 5 percent tax is assessed on interest and dividend income of more than $2,400 annually, $4,800 for joint filers.

The state Department of Revenue Administration calculates the change will cost the state $100 million in lost revenue, but the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, believes that amount to be overstated.

“We have spent the last four years reducing taxes to make the state more business friendly and now we are eliminating taxes for individuals, primarily retirees who count on this income to live,” said Sanborn. “If we are to claim that New Hampshire is an income tax free state that should be reflective in our laws.”

Motorcycle noise

While the House was passing a bill prohibiting police roadblocks to check for drunk drivers, the Senate passed a bill prohibiting checkpoints for noisy motorcycles.

SB 516 prohibits the use of “motorcycle-only” roadside checkpoints.

The bill was prompted by complaints from motorcyclists about stops being made in Portsmouth.

Sen. Bill Gannon, R-Sandown, said Portsmouth is not singling out motorcycles, and should have the right to enforce its own noise ordinance.

Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, said the committee heard testimony to the contrary.

“In the hearing we heard from witnesses who say (roadblocks to check motorcycle noise) happen in and around Portsmouth," she said. "We had no testimony stating they weren’t doing it. Motorcyclist said they were being stopped.”

Head injuries

The Senate also passed a bill calling for head injury policies for the Community College System and University System of New Hampshire.

Senate Bill 524, requires that student athletes receive information about concussions and chronic brain trauma, and that institutions follow protocols for treatment and return to play.

The bill also protects athletic health staff that follow the procedures from liability for civil damages.

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