EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 17, 2013

Gov. Hassan would veto beer tax hike

Battle brewing over gas tax

(Continued)

Morse also intends to oppose an increase in the gas tax.

“I will not support it,” he said.

The beer tax hike, sponsored by Reps. Charles Weed, D-Keene, and Richard Eaton, D-Greenville, would raise the beer tax 33 percent, from 30 to 40 cents a gallon.

An estimated $4.3 million in revenue generated by their proposal would be put aside for prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse.

But brewers, distributors and grocers are fighting House Bill 168 because they say it could hurt sales and the state economy, negatively affecting consumers, the workforce and state coffers.

In Southern New Hampshire, there is concern that a beer tax hike would curtail spending by Massachusetts shoppers driving across the border for better prices.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees state tax policy.

Hassan’s threatened veto was greeted positively in the business community.

“That’s wonderful,” said John Dumais, president of the New Hampshire Grocers Association. “The governor ran on a pledge of no additional taxes and she is keeping her promise there.”

Hassan also is showing she understands the major impact on consumer buying power when taxes are raised, as well as how an increase can hurt businesses, he said.

Hassan’s opposition also pleased beer distributors.

“We’re pleased that Gov. Hassan is committed to protecting the ‘New Hampshire Advantage’ and understands how significantly this tax might negatively affect jobs and the local economy,” said Scott Schaier, executive director of the Beer Distributors of New Hampshire.

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