CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB682, establishing a water resources fund in the department of environmental services and charging certain application and permit fees. The bill passed by a 201-147 vote.

“This bill establishes pricey new fees, and doubles and triples some other existing fees. I have a real problem with the Democrats’ efforts in this bill to go outside of the budget process to raise $3 million in fees to grow government. Even more of a problem is that this bill seeks to take away authority of the legislature to review and set future fee modifications, and gives that authority to the commissioner through the administrative rules process. This sets a bad precedent and suggests that departments like DoT should be able to adjust the gas tax. We need to keep department budget requests in the budget, and we need to keep fee and tax setting in the hands of the elected legislature, and not department bureaucrats. Where will these shenanigans stop?”