To The Daily Sun,
In response to a recent letter by Mr. Norm Paquette of Laconia, another friend of Mr. George Hurt, regarding my record, I would like to provide the following factual information. Please forgive me if I bore you with the details and facts, but feel that it is important to respond to set the record straight.
The oil fee I assume Mr. Paquette is referring to that I supported, relates to the New Hampshire Fuel Oil Discharge Cleanup Fund, which is a reserve fund that is utilized to assist with oil spill clean-ups in our state. The reserve fund has been going down since the use of fuel oil in New Hampshire has been reduced by people using other energy sources, and due to the cost of actual oil spill clean-ups.
The fuel oil import fee was raised back to the level of 2009, in order to allow for sufficient funds for oil spill clean-ups and prevention throughout our state. The fee assessed on oil at the time of importation into our state, not when sold to homeowners, reverted back from $0.01 to $0.0125, an increase of $0.0025 per gallon.
I'm sure we can all appreciate the negative effect oil spills have on our environment and the health of our citizens when oil spills into our lakes, rivers and streams and into the ground water used for drinking. Oil spills can also have a negative effect on our economy which relies heavily on our natural resources and scenic beauty for tourism, and can affect the sale of real estate that has oil contamination issues, plus spill clean-ups are extremely costly.
Most environmentally conscious states have such funds, and one of my priorities is protecting our environment and important natural resources, especially here in the Lakes Region.
Regarding the gas tax, both Democrats and Republicans, after careful consideration, and with the support of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, which is the New Hampshire Statewide Chamber of Commerce, worked together and voted to increase the gas tax by 4.2 cents per gallon. This increase, the first since 1991, still keeps the New Hampshire gas tax rate the lowest in New England, and provides funding for critical road and bridge projects such as the expansion of I-93 and repairs to secondary roads that affect Gilford, Meredith and all of Belknap County.
Further, this funding helps to offset costs to our towns for road and bridge repairs, thus helping to keep local tax rates in check. It is also key for economic growth and attracting business and tourism to our state and region, allows people and goods to move safely throughout our state road system, and helps to keep the cost of vehicle repairs down from driving on poor roads. In July of this year when the legislation was enacted, the price of a gallon of gas in New Hampshire averaged $3.60 a gallon, the current cost per gallon is about $3, oil prices are also down significantly. As you know, there are many factors, both domestic and international, that affect the fluctuation and manipulation of gas and oil prices, most of which are beyond the control of our state.
Lastly, there is a reference to fees for paint cans. Again, I can only assume Mr. Paquette is referring to a bill that was presented to mirror programs in other states in New England for the safe and proper disposal of paint. The focus of this bill was based on environmental protection and basically called for a fee on cans of paint that would then fund a proper disposal program in our state. Since the bill was never enacted, I will spare you all the details, but once again, the focus was on environmental protection. I can provided further information if anyone would like.
As you can see, a short negative statement about a voting record can have a lengthy backdrop and explanation. Each of these issues are typically discussed, studied and reviewed extensively before decisions are made as to how to vote. Please know that I take these bills seriously and do the due diligence required to make the best informed decision I can with an open mind, not paralyzed by politics, or an ideology based on saying no to everything.
I am always available to discuss these issues, or any other issue of concern. Once again, I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 4. It's important that you have a committed and sensible Representative that takes the time to study the issues and make informed decisions for the citizens of Gilford and Meredith.
Thank you for your consideration and support. For more information, assistance, or to support my re-election, please visit www.lisadimartino4rep.com.
Rep. Lisa DiMartino
Belknap 2, Gilford & Meredith
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