ARMI tax break passes NH Senate, heads to House

Bill would provide 10-year tax exemption for related businesses

The NH Senate on Thursday passed Senate Bill 564, which would exempt companies participating in the budding regenerative manufacturing industry from state business taxes for a decade and forgive the student loans of those who work in the industry in New Hampshire.

The Senate vote was its second this month on the measure. The first sent the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, which crafted a technical fix to prevent the tax breaks from going on forever.

The move came after beating back a floor amendment by Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, which would have tied the tax break to job growth.

Feltes objected to the 10-year exemption against the Business Profits Tax and the Business Enterprise Tax, arguing that it goes against the kind of tax fairness usually supported by conservatives.

“You are either on the bus or off the bus,” said Feltes, quoting a phrase of Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, often uses it in arguing against targeted tax breaks for more general tax cuts. “If you are going to let some people get off the bus there should at least be some accountability. You will only get your tax loophole if you create jobs.”

But Sanborn replied that, in this instance, it was OK to make an exception because “this is a chance of a lifetime.”

Other senators were also wowed by the technology championed by New Hampshire inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen and the Advanced Regeneratve Manufacturing Institute, which is being supported by an $80 million Department of Defense grant and approximately $200 million raised by businesses, medical institutions and universities from around the country.

“To try to take DNA and use it to create organs so people don’t have to wait years for a transplant — we are making an investment for the public good,” said Senator Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, where ARMI is located.

But it is also an economic investment in the Manchester Millyard, he argued. “Those buildings pay significant real estate taxes, and the people they hire will hopefully buy homes in our state and pay taxes in their communities,” said D’Allesandro.

The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote. It now goes to the House.

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