Forum, Feb. 24: Don’t Tax Our Fuel Efficiency, New Hampshire

Friday, February 23, 2018
Don’t Tax Our Fuel Efficiency

Am I reading correctly? Since citizens are now spewing less pollutants into New Hampshire’s air by having more fuel-efficient vehicles and using less gas, the New Hampshire House is now looking at a bill to tax fuel-efficient vehicles (“N.H. Legislation Would Add Fee for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles,” Feb. 13).

The better mileage you get, the more you pay. Oh, by the way, some of those same vehicle purchasers actually got a tax credit for buying them in the first place.

I understand, less gas usage means less tax revenue. If the original basis for gas tax is the more gas you use, the more you are using the roads, the more you pay — that sounds pretty fair to me. I have a suggestion. Why don’t we use the individual’s actual mileage consumption every year in this pay-per-use approach? The numbers could easily be transferred digitally upon our required annual inspection from our local mechanic. Of course, we might want to still nudge up the state gas tax some, so all the usage by out-of-state vehicles pays a share.

I can’t think of one logical argument for penalizing fuel efficiency. In fact, quite the opposite. The conservation mantra of use less, spoil less has been driven into the theme of our lives since the 1970s. This has given us cleaner air and water, as well as beautiful forests. Surely our Legislature should not reverse this progress by taxing our efforts.

Deb Clough


For Want of a Steel-Toed Boot

The New Hampshire state employees’ contract expired on June 30. Gov. Chris Sununu could facilitate an agreement, but he stubbornly refuses to do so. For a leader whose first legislative effort was a “right-to-work” bill (which was defeated), his position on the contract should not come as a surprise.

What is surprising is that, because there is no contract, New Hampshire Department of Transportation workers have no allowance for steel-toed work boots. Highway maintenance workers require protective footwear. The average laborer wears out a pair in a year. A good pair of steel-toed work boots costs $200. But, as a highway maintainer I start at $25,000 a year; $200 is a significant burden.

So State Employees Association union representatives approached the governor on behalf of this group. They asked him to make an exception and continue the footwear allowance even without a new contract. The governor refused.

The Transportation Department is having problems recruiting laborers because of the abysmal pay and low unemployment. These are the people who plow the highways, repair the roads and are expected to show up at all hours to deal with floods, rockslides, blizzards and washouts. Does the governor care? He won’t even help them buy a pair of steel-toed boots. But he will show up in a local parade cuddling a teddy bear or appear on TV viewing storm damage. The governor is all show and no substance.

Maralyn Doyle

Newbury, N.H.

Important Lake Pinneo Information

From reading Matt Hongoltz-Hetling’s article regarding Hartford, Lake Pinneo and the Quechee Lakes Landowners Association (“Original Permit Stipulates Lake Pinneo Should Be Open to Public,” Feb. 15 ), I gather that it was the Valley News that found the information that “the permit to build Lake Pinneo in 1974 was based on the premise that all Hartford residents would be allowed to swim, fish and boat there for a modest fee.”

What might have been the fate of the infamous $415,000 “pocket park” had this information been obtained earlier?

Newspapers are important. Thanks, Valley News, for bringing this information to the attention of the community.

Peggy Richardson


Some Topics for Review in Hartford

Just to give a more complete picture of various Quechee projects, there are a number of issues that the principals involved could review.

Old Lake Pinneo disappeared with Tropical Storm Irene and was rebuilt at significant cost to its members. I suggest that town officials and Quechee Lakes Landowners Association management review to what extent this should be part of any future agreement.

Milfoil removal will be required this summer. What could be the town’s contribution?

The Upper Valley Waldorf School is hosting 150 students, from pre-K to eighth grade, from many towns in the Upper Valley. The library and church (used for assemblies) are not accessible with sidewalks. Quechee is the only village in the town of Hartford without sidewalks.

The area available for outdoor activities for the Waldorf School its at most one-tenth of what is available to the Ottauquechee School. In connection with a privately funded expansion of the Waldorf School, the Hartford School Board has not been interested in selling part of the land to it. The Waldorf School really needs more space. The town needs funds for pool and tracks.

For Town Meeting, it would be nice if the town could report the income from the various villages, both property and sales taxes, to shed a little more objective picture of our contributions to and benefits of being a part of the town of Hartford.

Leif Smedman


We Have Met the Enemy ...

The real enemy of the American people is not Russia, China, Iran or North Korea, but our own government, military and media. Our democracy has been hijacked by a cabal of psychopaths hell-bent on controlling the entire world at whatever cost. As Henry Kissinger said, “Power is the great aphrodisiac.”

The U.S. government is the greatest sponsor of terrorism, using jihad mercenaries to do its dirty work. Our military and covert agencies have intervened almost everywhere to stop any country that they can bully from pursuing its own interests outside the U.S.-controlled world order.

“Russiagate” is a baldfaced lie propagated by our intelligence agencies, the mainstream media and absolutely corrupt politicians to halt any move toward peace, to increase military spending and to persuade us that war is necessary.

The major issue is not Donald Trump or liberal versus conservative but the monster that is the American empire. The Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans. This madness can only be stopped if we pull our support away from both political parties and seek an alternative. Otherwise we may end up with a nuclear holocaust.

Richard Bell