In 1967, the N.H. Legislature enacted the Rooms and Meals Tax. The state agreed it would retain 60 percent of revenues collected and New Hampshire cities and towns would receive 40 percent of revenue collected. Unfortunately, since then, the state reneged on that agreement multiple times. They’ve shortchanged New Hampshire municipalities millions of dollars which the state previously promised to pay.
Recently, on WKBK, I listened to New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu boast about the state’s $200 million budgetary surplus. This so-called “surplus” is actually the money owed to municipalities, as indicated in the original Rooms and Meals Tax agreement. The state created its “surplus” on the back of struggling cities and towns.
From 2010 to 2019, Rooms and Meals Tax revenue increased by 58 percent, from approximately $204 million to just over $322 million. Despite that tremendous increase, in fiscal year 2019, our state government kept 79 percent of Rooms and Meals Tax revenue for itself, sending only 21 percent back to communities. This conduct is in blatant disregard of the agreement’s intent. Clearly, corrections are long overdue.
This is not a partisan issue. Since 1967, both major parties have held the governorship and have controlled majorities in the Legislature. We need cooperation from all sides to get this problem resolved.
Consequently, I have submitted a letter to the Mayor Lane and my fellow city councilors requesting a resolution be written and submitted to Gov. Sununu and the Legislature demanding the state abide by the original Rooms and Meals Tax revenue sharing agreement of 60 percent for the state and 40 percent for municipalities.
My letter, and this issue, will be discussed Thursday (May 23) at 6:30 p.m. before the City Council’s Finance, Organization and Personnel Committee. I respectfully urge as many citizens as possible to attend or make their voices heard. Silence is no longer an option.
RANDY L. FILIAULT
40B Stonehouse Lane