EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 27, 2011

N.H. political parties split over tax cut results


M&N, also on South Broadway, was flooded with customers buying cigarettes and beer Friday.

Many people, especially those from Massachusetts, stopped off during Black Friday shopping.

They were also stopping off at the nearby Discount Stateline Store. All three convenience stores are a short distance from the Massachusetts border.

"Ninety-percent of my customers are from Massachusetts," said Kamal Patel, owner of Discount Stateline.

The tax cut may have attracted some new customers, Patel said, but he's not seeing a large increase in business.

"It's the same," he said.

No customers interviewed Friday were aware of the tax break.

"I didn't even know about it," said Dayanet Marin, 30, of Haverhill.

Marin and her friend, Shannon Cooper, 24, of Lawrence stood outside M&N on Friday afternoon, enjoying a cigarette after a long morning of shopping.

"I didn't even notice it all," Cooper said of the tax cut.

Marin, Cooper and the other shoppers said they prefer to cross the state line to buy their cigarettes because it's still much cheaper than Massachusetts.

GOP counsel patience

Although the state administrative services commissioner said the tax cut hasn't made a difference, state GOP leaders say it's only a matter of time.

House Speaker William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, joined six local lawmakers last week at Klemm's Mobil in Windham.

They were accompanied by John Dumais, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Grocers Association. Their goal is to increase cross-border sales and tourism.

Despite reports that tobacco tax revenues are behind projections, O'Brien and Bettencourt claim the state's economy continues to grow.

This growth has remained steady ever since Republicans took control of the Legislature, O'Brien said.

"The New Hampshire House has — and will continue to make — our New Hampshire stores more competitive," O'Brien said. "We want to attract more cross-border customers to New Hampshire."

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