N.H. Cigarette Tax to Decrease

Governor lets budget, which includes reduction, become law without his signature

Linda Abu-Shalback Zid, Senior Editor

CONCORD, N.H. -- Smoking in New Hampshire is about to get a little less costly. Democratic Governor John Lynch has announced that he would let a $10.2 billion budget, which includes a 10-cent reduction in state cigarette taxes, become law without his signature, according to the Associated Press.

Lynch (pictured) said the budget does not account for up to $30 million in lost revenues, but said a veto would not lead to a better budget and could cause a government shutdown.

The state's current $1.78 state tax is also already lower than its neighbors: Maine ($2), [image-nocss] Massachusetts ($2.51) and Vermont ($2.24). (Vermont's tax will increase 38 cents to $2.62 on July 1.)

According to research conducted by Southern New Hampshire University for the New Hampshire Grocers Association, a 10-cent-per-pack excise-tax reduction could mean $1.7 million more profit for the state's convenience stores, and $12.8 million more in cigarette excise and other taxes (such as business-profit and business-enterprise taxes).

John Dumais, president and CEO of the association, told Tobacco E-News, the companion publication of CSP Daily News, that purchases that might come along with people crossing the borders of New Hampshire to buy cigarettes could include gasoline, food, beverages and even hotel rooms.

"It's primarily to help business, but it ultimately helps the state, because when those cross-border sales come to New Hampshire, they buy a lot of other products," he said.