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Taxing efficiency: Sununu vows veto

EDITORIAL
April 12. 2018 10:41PM




New Hampshire would send a strange message to drivers if it imposed higher taxes on fuel-efficient vehicles.

State and federal programs try to nudge consumers toward energy efficiency, from light bulbs to lawn mowers. So why would New Hampshire make it more expensive to drive a fuel-efficient car?

Lawmakers are trying to generate revenue to replace the taxes on the gas that efficient vehicles don’t guzzle.

Gas tax revenues are increasing, but not as much as members of the House Ways and Means Committee would like. So they have pushed through a Road Usage Fee that would charge owners of electric vehicles an extra $111 to register their cars each year. Anyone with a car that gets more than 20 miles per gallon would pay more according to a sliding scale.

Gov. Chris Sununu has promised to veto HB 1763 should it pass the Senate. He’s right to do so.

The quest for revenues has clouded the judgment of lawmakers who usually oppose new taxes and fees.

As we move away from fossil fuels, we’ll need to find ways to pay for transportation projects other than gas taxes. The Legislature should craft a transportation funding formula that works for the 21st century.

Tacking on a new tax for fuel-efficient vehicles is a costly, piecemeal solution. It would discourage drivers from purchasing cars that are not only cheaper to operate but also better for the environment.


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