- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Business tax rates will begin dropping in 2017 under a plan endorsed Tuesday by Senate budget writers.

The plan proposes lowering the rate of the business profits tax from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent in 2017. By 2019 the rate would be at 7.9 percent. It also aims to lower the rate of the business enterprise tax - paid on wages, interest and dividends - from .75 percent to .7 percent in 2017. The tax will eventually drop to .675 percent.

The rate reductions will cut state revenues by roughly $14 million in the budget. Initial plans proposed starting the cuts in 2016, which would’ve taken more money out of next year’s budget. That would have limited the Senate’s ability to restore cuts made by the House to higher education, renewable energy projects and social services.

Republican senators backing the cuts say they will eventually spur more business growth and increase state revenues.

“It does send a good message to the business community that we are thinking of them and we do realize that they’re the ones who produce the money that we need to fund the service that we believe are important priorities,” said Republican Sen. Jeanie Forrester.

Democratic opponents, however, say reducing the tax rates isn’t the best way to grow the economy.

“I believe we should be building an economy from the bottom up,” said Sen. Jeff Woodburn.

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