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Democrats Ram Through 83% Gas Tax Hike

UPDATE--I missed one of the Republicans who voted for the tax increase, so have updated the article.  Ironically, the one I missed was the husband of former Speaker Donna Sytek who was known for saying, "Not on my watch!"  One can only wonder whether, despite her husband's vote, she'd be saying, "Not on my watch" today!

When all was said and done, after nearly two and a half hours of debate (I plead guilty to taking ten minutes of that time myself), despite rumors that numerous Democrats would vote against David Campbell's nearly doubling of the state gasoline tax and that numerous Republicans would break ranks and vote for it...after all that, the vote fell pretty much along party lines.

That of course means that the tax hike passed.  The margin was 207-163, and the bill now goes to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration, but don't expect any changes there. 

Only 15 Republicans (including two in Gene Chandler's leadership team--fidelity to my New Years resolutions prevents me from naming names here!) voted for the bill, a small number indeed since all Republicans on the Public Works Committee had voted for it. 

Despite all the talk that enough Democrats would break ranks to make it close, only ten Democrats voted against the bill. (I had expected as many of 30 defections each way which would have left a victory margin of about 40 votes).

What we saw was rather depressing, if not for those who don't want to see a 15 cent a gallon increase in the gas tax, then certainly for those who expect any excitement out of the House for the remainder of the biennium.

Today's vote on this issue and on another bill to raise boating fees left no doubt that Chandler has no control over his caucus and that Democrats, more than ever, will march in lockstep with whatever their leaders tell them to do.

When you get approximately the same number of Reps from each party leaving the reservation, it doesn't take a math genius to figure out that Democrats will prevail on every major issue.

Leader Chandler has only himself to blame for surrounding himself with leaders who consistently vote against the wishes of the Republican minority.  For example, on House Bill 411, to repeal a future reduction in boating fees, 110 Republicans voted in the 236-117 minority.  Only 50 Republicans joined Democrats in passing the bill, but Chandler and his troika of leaders (from Hudson, Hooksett, and Londonderry--no names please!) joined all but seven Democrats.  In other words, the Republican caucus is being led by people who went against the wishes of more than two-thirds of the caucus and do so on a regular basis.

No, Mrs. Calabash wherever you are, you just can't make this stuff up.

Democrats should be celebrating in the street; as long as Chandler keeps the dishonorable troika in place, no wins for Republicans should be forecast!

Here are the 15 Republicans who voted for the gas tax increase:  McConkey, Tilton from Laconia,  Graham and Danielson from Bedford, the unnamable one from Hudson, the unnamable one from Hooksett, Kidder, Lockwood, Sytek, Friel, Khan, Milz, Waterhouse, Grenier, and Takesian who is generally recognized as a Democrat who simply ran as a Republican to make it easier to win in Pelham which had been robbed of four seats it deserved by Republicans last year.

Sorry, but it's the truth.

Among the ten Democrats who voted against the tax increase, only three could be considered leaders--Election Law Committee Chair David Cote, Finance Division I Chair Peter Leishman, and Finance Division III Chair Cindy Rosenwald. The seven eight were Syndi White, Parkhurst, Yvonne Thomas, Carroll, Garcia, Barbara Shaw and Mike O'Flaherty (as usual) of Manchester.   Even supposed Libertarian Joel Winters, who at one time would never have considered voting for an 83 percent tax increase, voted with his Democratic brethren.  (He insists it's a user tax, not a fee even though most fees only hit the user one time and this tax/fee will hit everyone every time he or she fills up).

Only 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans were absent for the vote, and indication that parties were whipping people into attending, but don't think that means they were there for the entire day.  Many missed earlier roll calls and/or scurried out after the 3:27 p.m. vote on the gas tax


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Reader Comments (6)

I am for the gas hike. Have you driven through Tilton? My CD player cuts out continually because of cracks and potholes in the road. NH is just pathetic on how it gathers revenue. Firstly its pathetic that property owners bear the load. That makes the rest freeloaders. In NH, government seems to mean "let somebody else pay for it". The argument should be how much should we raise this and that tax if revenue is needed. Under the GOP, by last July, our economic ranking went from 10th to 34th. Under the GOP, our infrastructure slipped to 46th.Yes, Steve, we are exceptional! Fiscal Libertarianism is la-la land. Its pie in the sky.We need centrist action in fiscal policies. People have to pay for good government. Since we don't like to pay for anything, our roads suck and our economic ranking stinks.
March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJames Veverka
Thanks for giving it a Vaillant try, Representative Steve! Your speech was worthy of your outpost position, and should have swayed any sentient beings under the gilded dome. Perhaps you could call for there to be an audit of the the Highway Fund prior to this full pork B.B.Q being passed on to the Senate. Interesting things to find out would be
1. How much money actually makes it to pay for roads and bridges (that would be labor and materials, please)
2. How much paid to collect the money
3. How much paid to police the roads (verified by duty records, not magical wand waving)
4. How much paid to manage and control the money (Accounting)
5. How much for other functions like highway beatification
6. How much to Fish and Games, Judiciary jiu-jitsu, and the Grate Administrator (budget smudged, etc) I bet this is where at least half the money leaks out of the bucket.

I dare say the results of such intrepid inquiry could be ... illuminating.
– C. dog clearly dying in the Grate State of New Hamster
March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
Your Quote "Takesian who is generally recoginzed as a Democrat who simply ran as a Republican to make it easier to win in Pelham which had been robbed of four seats it deserved by Republicans last year.
Sorry, but it's the truth."

Sorry but that's not the truth at all. I have been a Republican all my life and my family before me. I simply saw that Pelham has been "robbed" of Representation that it deserves (4 seats) and ran to occupy one of them. I have Republican views, I could never be a Democrat. I just don't agree with:

Having to kowtow to the Party leadership when I personally don't agree
Voting no on bills that come out of Committee with an 18-0 vote
Taking away personal rights to choose
Passing costs down to local property taxes to balance the State budget (and then saying that we didn't raise taxes)
Letting bridges and roads go unrepaired to try to prove a point
Digging in to vote party line which accomplishes nothing

I ran on a bipartisan platform and will continue to be bipartisan. I will continue to vote with a committee vote of 18-0. I represent ALL people in my district regardless of party. The only way we can ever move forward is to work together and Republicans and Democrats. The people in America are tired of the same old partisan politics. They want and deserve for us to work together to try to solve issues instead of taking a hard party line.
March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlene Takesian
Now it goes to the New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee. The hearing is on Thursday, 3-14-2013 at 1:30PM in Representative’s Hall at the New Hampshire State House in Concord.
March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith
Hey Charlene –
Perhaps you could take some time out of your busy schedule to answer the pointy questions above? You know, basic information any sane sausage maker would require before almost doubling a tax that would disproportionately hit the poor workin' stiffs of New Hamster the hardest? Or is that the kind of Kumbaya bipartisan havoc your seeking to wreak upon the us po' hamsters?
– C. dog pelting nominal republicrats with their own detritus
March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
Unlike opinions, voting records can be quantified. Rep. T almost always votes with Democrats--not that there's anything wrong with that. Is there? I suspect we'll have proof when the HRA rating comes out. My guess is she'll replace Julie Brown as the lowest Republican scorer. That says more than anything else could possibly say--facts are facts.

My comment, "Sorry but it's the truth" was in regard to Pelham having four seats stolen from the town.
March 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterRep Steve Vaillancourt

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