House to vote on rooms and meals tax fee cap

Should the state stop giving the hospitality industry a piece of the rooms and meals action?

House Bill 1329 – scheduled for a in the New Hampshire House on Wednesday — would cap at $100 a month the commission that hotels and restaurants pocket to cover expenses incurred while collecting the rooms and meals tax.

Supporters of the cap say that no other New Hampshire pass-through tax enriches the tax collector, and no other New England state allows for a similar commission. The state, they contend, loses $11 million every two years to cover such fees, and a cap would affect only the state’s larger hospitality businesses.

Opponents say that removing such a long-standing commission would disrupt the tourist industry, and businesses only collect the fee if they get the tax in on time, ensuring prompt payment of one of the state’s most important revenue stream.

Another would consider whether to allow incumbent local exchange carriers to file alternative regulation plans with the state Public Utilities Commission. While that would cut the small carrier a break, opponents said that it is anti-competitive

HB 1117 would include provisions for “workforce housing” in municipal economic development plans. Increasingly, businesses and developers have been pushing for more affordable housing, but opponents say that the state should not interfere with the planning process.

HB 1452 would require insurance coverage for bone marrow cancer treatments. Opponents argued that such mandates drive up the cost of health insurance.

Also on Wednesday, the House will vote on whether to lease the Cannon Mountain ski area to a private operator, much as Mount Sunapee is. – BOB SANDERS

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