A Senate committee this week rejected a House-passed plan to increase the cigarette tax by 20 cents per pack. State Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, was among those opposing the tax on a party-line vote in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
“I didn’t think that was appropriate,” Rausch told reporter John Toole.
Also pending are votes on an increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, which would be phased in over a number of years, and a tax hike on home heating oil.
“My constituents are saying we can’t afford more taxes,” state Sen. Russell Prescott, R-Kingston, said. “I’m going to make every effort not to raise taxes.”
Prescott said he has not yet determined how he’ll vote on these proposals.
These tax increases, taken individually, are not large — 12 cents per gallon on the gas tax, one-quarter of a cent on the heating oil tax. But call it the “cup of coffee syndrome.”
Proponents like to pitch these increases as a providing great benefits while costing taxpayers “less than a cup of coffee” a day, or some similar analogy. These lawmakers neglect to take into account that taxpayers already are providing a great many “cups of coffee” each day through the taxes they pay. One more cup, in some cases, may be one too many.
New Hampshire taxpayers are struggling in an economy that itself is barely limping along. This is no time to whack hard-pressed citizens with tax increases.