EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 30, 2013

Tax hikes drive Bay State shoppers north

A new round of tax increases is encouraging more Massachusetts residents to shop in New Hampshire.

It’s also pleasing store owners along the border in the Granite State.

“I don’t understand it. They hit the tobacco and they hit the gasoline,” William MacCord of Methuen said while parked outside Stateline Paysaver yesterday on Route 28 in Salem.

The Massachusetts’ cigarette tax is going up $1 from $2.51 to $3.51 a pack Thursday. New Hampshire’s cigarette tax also is going up, but only a dime from $1.68 to $1.78.

Massachusetts also is boosting its gas tax from 21 to 24 cents a gallon. New Hampshire is holding the line at 18 cents.

“We’re in a border town, so you can just jump over and we do that every day,” MacCord said. “The reason I come to New Hampshire to shop is the taxes.”

Pat Smith of Methuen also was shopping yesterday at Stateline Paysaver.

“The only time I don’t come here is on Saturday and Sunday, when the traffic is horrible,” Smith said. “I think the taxes push people over the border more and more.”

Curt Gracie of Salem, a carpenter, said it costs him about $12 more to fill up his pickup in Massachusetts because of taxes, so he tries to avoid doing so.

“It makes a big difference,” Gracie said.

Marie Thibodeau of Methuen crosses the border to shop, too.

“It’s a lot cheaper,” Thibodeau said of her decision to shop at Paysaver in New Hampshire. “It makes me cringe whenever the taxes go up. It makes me want to move.”

Shoppers said it makes a difference.

“I definitely come to New Hampshire for cigarettes,” Jane Potvin of Everett said as she shopped at Paysaver.

Potvin said she dislikes the difference in taxes that she said forces her to come to New Hampshire.

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