To be clear about this -- I'm not disputing that the category "hiker" comprises a large part of the SAR missions in the state. But I don't recall any noteworthy (read: expensive) incidents involving AMC or RMC lodging guests or any significant frequency of minor incidents involving them.
OTOH, I do recall LOTS of noteworthy incidents involving folks who were (1) planning on staying in the woods on their own or (2) dayhikers who clearly had no connection to any of the lodging locales in question.
I share sardog1's intuition about the source of lost hikers. If anything, guests of the hut facilities are probably better prepared in general than those without an inkling of the facilities available. On the contrary, it might be argued that a disproportionate number of cases are dayhikers unaccustomed to conditions and navigation. Someone else might argue that those who push the limits of conditions and endurance represent the highest proportionate risk.
In the end, it really doesn't matter to me, these statistics being subject to many variables and probably changing from time to time.
It is punitive, if not counterproductive to attracting visitors to NH, to tack an additional fee on selective accommodations. The 9% accommodations tax already gives me pause to think I'm better off staying elsewhere for long periods.
I disagree with the notion that guests of the hut facilities can better afford the additional tax and I don't think that is relevant either. We are all in this together and these things ought to be paid out of general funds, not by some preconceived notion of who can or can't afford the tax.
What I do think is unfair is that, in many jurisdictions, the bulk of SAR budgets come from hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation licenses. Hikers, rightfully so, need no license. This is a cause of resentment (and probably behind the proposed legislation). I think the former source of revenue should be dedicated to conservation, SAR costs from the general funds.
We can perceive many ridiculous ways governments at all levels spend revenues. I think public safety would have a legitimate priority in the claim for public funds.