CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the party line vote in the House Science, Technology & Energy committee on HB735, relative to carbon pricing. The bill would establish a tax on carbon emissions that would gradually increase over 4 years, resulting in up to $800 million per year in costs to New Hampshire consumers, businesses, and municipalities. The committee voted 10-8 to recommend the bill ought to pass with amendment, with Republicans voting unanimously in opposition.

“Just as New Hampshire is gearing up to heat our homes, schools, and businesses this winter, Democrats have decided to move forward with their $800 million carbon tax that will hit heating fuels, in addition to gasoline and other fossil fuels, and have a wide ranging negative impact across our economy. This will cost small businesses millions, increasing the costs of goods and services, and it will definitely increase costs to state, county and municipal governments, which will have a severe impact on property taxes and other taxes. If you’re looking to croak our economy and send jobs to other parts of the country, this is the bill for you. No other state has this type of carbon tax scheme, and there’s a reason for that. It’s just wacky to think New Hampshire can afford this type of dramatic policy shift.”

Background:

Bill text available here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billText.aspx?sy=2019&id=815&txtFormat=pdf&v=current

If the plan were enacted, the Department of Environmental Services estimates revenue as follows: 

Calendar Year Tons of CO2 Equiv. Fee Revenue 

2020 15,000,000 $20.00 $300,000,000 

2021 15,000,000 $30.75 $461,250,000 

2022 15,000,000 $41.77 $626,550,000 

2023 15,000,000 $53.05 $795,900,000

Bills retained by committees will likely be worked on in the fall, and acted on by the House in January.

Testimony provided to the committee at the time of the public hearing suggested that the proposal would increase gas prices by 15-20 cents per gallon in year one, and 5-10 cents per year as the fee increases. In addition, home heating oil prices could rise as much as $1.22 per gallon. The fee/tax would also apply to other carbon based fuels including natural gas and propane. The bill seeks to rebate some of the revenue back to residents on a per capita basis, and some large industrial entities, but neglects to rebate anything back to small businesses, municipalities or school districts. If energy costs increased by 30-50%, it could have a severe impact on property taxes.