Drive-by tax-and-spending

Just when you thought that the Democrats at the State House in Concord were done taxing us, here they go again.Last month the House Transportation Committee, along strict party lines, voted to pass a bill creating yet another fee – a new driver’s license permitting fee. This came despite opposition from both the Department of Safety and the New Hampshire Drivers Education Teachers Association. Not only will it hit taxpayers in the pocketbook but it will create yet another bureaucracy at the Department of Safety, including all the expenses that go along with creating a new system.When the Legislature resumes its duties in January they will debate this issue on the House floor and, if the Democrats are successful again, teenagers in New Hampshire will be required to pay a new $20 driver’s permit fee. If they still have not acquired their license within a year, they will be forced to pay the fee again! The Democrats in committee argued that many states, such as Massachusetts do this, and so should we. I say nonsense.Just last session, the Legislature changed the rules for young folks learning how to drive by requiring them to drive 40 hours with a parent or guardian, with 10 of those hours required to be driven at night. This doubled the required driving hours and was done to make sure our young drivers learn by doing. This made sense. Now on top of the cost of driver’s education classes, and the cost of gas used to teach them, they will have the added cost of paying for a permit fee that is only valid for one year.The bottom line: The cost for the first year licensing for a new driver will increase from $50 to $70.When you add the additional burden on taxpayers of paying for the development of the exam, its administration, correcting the exams and oversight of the program, it becomes a financial nightmare.Despite being faced with a serious downturn in the economy over the last three years, Democrats in the Legislature chose to increase or create more than 50 new taxes and fees since they took control — and apparently they aren’t done yet.It’s time to stop the tax-and-spend mentality in Concord and time to look for ways to live within our means – not by balancing the budget on the backs of our teenagers. It certainly leaves one to wonder which new tax or fee is just around the corner. Hopefully the taxpayers are paying attention and will not forget come November 2010.Republican Jennifer Coffey of Andover serves in the New Hampshire House.

Categories: Opinion