House Republican Leaders Comment on Passage of Bill Increasing the Tobacco Tax

CONCORD – Today House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) and House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) offered the following comments in reaction to the passage of HB 659, a bill that would increase the tobacco tax. HB 659 passed by a vote of 193-167.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“With tobacco sales on the decline and border sales dwindling, the last thing we need is another increase to the tobacco tax. This regressive tax not only makes New Hampshire businesses less competitive, but according to the Department of Revenue Administration, will result in 5.4% reduction in sales, hurting state revenues. Studies have shown that when customers travel to New Hampshire to purchase tobacco products they also tend to purchase non-tobacco products as well. These additional sales will undoubtedly disappear hurting our retailers’ bottom line.

House Republican Policy Leader Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford)

“In these tough economic times the last thing our state’s businesses need is higher taxes on their products. In particular, this bill will put our border businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Our focus should be on improving the environment for doing business here so we can make it easier, not harder, for our state’s employers to succeed, grow and hire.”

“We are also concerned that this tax increase will disproportionally hurt lower income families in our state, who tend to purchase more cigarettes, and ask our colleagues in the Senate to defeat this bill.”