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Letter: Yes to casino, yes to gas tax

House Bill 617 and Senate Bill 152 are on a collision course in the Legislature.

HB 617 would increase the gas tax and produce $1 billion in new revenue for New Hampshire in a decade. Twelve percent, or $120 million, would go to towns for roads and bridge repairs, reversing the downshifting of costs to towns. The Senate has said HB 617 is dead on arrival.

SB 152 is Gov. Maggie Hassan’s and Sen. Lou D’Allessandro’s bill that would allow for one casino, some of the revenue also going to roads and bridge repairs.

The House will probably not go along with it. So two years hence, we may be in the same place we are now: no new revenue, downshifting to the towns and property taxes going through the roof.

I am for both bills – HB 617 for roads and repairs, SB 152 for education (relief to the towns included), mental health, children programs and general revenue. Regarding the gas tax, gas prices in my area have gone down 20 cents in the past two weeks. If we had increased the tax by the full 15 cents in one fell swoop, gas would still be 5 cents cheaper today. Never mind an increase of just 4 cents.

As for SB 152, the people of Salem made it clear recently that they do want a casino by a margin of 3 to 1. Many of my constituents (not all, admittedly) are in favor of a casino.

New Hampshire is inadequately funded. It can not be a first-rate state on a third-rate budget. This is why I support both bills, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do the same.

Rep. MARIO RATZKI

East Andover

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