AP News

NH House kills supermajority tax amendment

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's House voted Wednesday to kill a proposed constitutional amendment to require a supermajority in the Legislature to pass tax or fee increases or to approve borrowing.

The House voted 206-149 to kill the same measure that the House passed last year when Republicans controlled the chamber, not Democrats. The Senate changed last year's House proposal and the changed amendment died in the House.

Opponents argued the amendment would make it harder to fund government's routine operations. They said the measure's supporters want to dismantle government.

"If you think there is no need for state government, vote for this," said Ways and Means Chairwoman Susan Almy, D-Lebanon.

Rep. Timothy Smith, D-Manchester, said it would make it harder to do the simplest things, such as raising fishing licenses to adjust for inflation.

"This bill is pure obstructionism; nothing more, nothing less," he said.

Supporters argued it would promote consensus if a three-fifths vote was needed to raise money. They argued requiring a supermajority vote was fairer to taxpayers.

Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, noted it takes a supermajority of voters — two-thirds — to approve constitutional changes.

"We demand a supermajority of the people. Does it not seem right and fitting when we demand a supermajority of ourselves when we are taking money from the people?" he said.

Supporters also argued voters should be the ones to decide if the amendment was a good idea.

"Enough of this discussion about the sky is falling because it isn't," said Rep. Andrew Renzullo, R-Hudson.

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