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House kills proposal to study diverting funds to general fund

CONCORD - The House soundly killed legislation Wednesday that would have established a committee to study a constitutional amendment to prevent dedicated funds for a specific purpose from being diverted to the general fund.

The House vote was 246-54, backing a Ways and Means Committee 17-1 recommendation.

"How do our constituents feel that funds established for one purpose are being raided for the general fund?" asked Rep. Peter Bixby, D-Dover, in an unsuccessful argument in favor of the bill.

"Charging a fee to do one thing and then using it to do something else is simply not honest," said Bixby. "In commerce this practice is called bait and switch and it is illegal."

But House Ways and Means Committee Chair Susan Almy, D-Lebanon, said establishing a committee to study a constitutional amendment proposal is "redundant."

"They should put in a CACR (constitutional amendment concurrent resolution) and we'll take a look at it," she said.

Rep. Russell T. Ober, R-Hudson, said "the total banning" of allowing dedicated funds to be diverted to the general fund "would have major side effects," because it could leave the general fund without adequate funds.

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