CONCORD NH (Reuters) – Governor John Lynch today announced that he will begin the process to change the official name of the state to Tax-Free New Hampshire. This will require an amendment to the state constitution, which must receive a three-fifths majority in both houses of the state legislature and approval by a majority of the voters in the next regular election. “It’s clear that we will not have the change in place for the 2008 elections. In fact, that will be our earliest opportunity to get it on the ballot. We’re looking ahead to 2012.” The heavily-covered New Hampshire presidential primary is expected to give the new name wide exposure.
A spokesman for the governor confirmed that, aside from state pride in responsible government, commercial advantages played a part in the decision. “Look at the states surrounding us: Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. To the north, we have Quebec. All of them have pretty high income tax, sales tax, and then there’s the VAT in Canada with provincial taxes on top of that. We do a pretty good business selling liquor [note – New Hampshire sells distilled beverages exclusively through state-owned stores] and smokes at every border town, and to the south, the mall parking lots are full of cars with Massachusetts plates on them. We’re not alone in this either: look how well Nevada does with California customers.”
Radio and television advertising, much of it targeted at residents of surrounding states, frequently stresses that purchases of tangible goods are exempt from state sales tax. The change in the state name will extend this marketing theme to news reports, geography textbooks, and road maps. New Hampshire relies heavily on real property taxes, and also imposes taxes on meals and hotels. With much of the state’s most valuable residential property used as vacation homes, this means that a substantial portion of the state’s revenues come from non-residents visiting the state.
Some of these neighboring states impose a use tax on goods bought there by their residents, but this is difficult to assess and collect. Massachusetts has a line on its state income tax form where taxpayers are supposed to list their out-of-state purchases, but compliance is believed to be minimal. Efforts by Massachusetts state police to take down license plate numbers in the parking lots of New Hampshire state liquor stores, retail stores, and fireworks stores have been controversial with Massachusetts residents and resisted by New Hampshire officials. Store employees, including those of state stores, generally ask them to leave when they are found. “If they want to stop a car entering Massachusetts with a wide-screen plasma TV sticking out of the trunk, that’s their business. If they want to hang around Best Buy taking down customers’ plate numbers, that’s ours,” said the governor’s spokesman, who declined to be identified.
A spokesman for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick refused to comment on New Hampshire’s plans, saying only that all options remain open. When asked if a military response was being considered, he would only reiterate that “Nothing is off the table. All options are open.”
7 thoughts on “Now it’s Official: Tax-Free New Hampshire”
1. no goods taxes in New Hampshire but huge property tax and nearly zero social services for those in need.
2. the Mass versus New hampshire thing is really about the tax-free booze that so many of us take advantage of. We visit New Hampshire and on the way out, stopa state booze stores and load trunks of c ars so that we save lots of money on our drinking. It is nice because it encourages us to drink lots. Thanks, New Hampshire! Drink free or die
“…nearly zero social services for those in need.”
Good. That makes them go somewhere else. If you subsidize something you get more of it. Let the high tax states have all the people in need sucking on the sows teat.
Ha. If New Hampshire’s low taxes are the cause of the depraved drinking habits of the poor souls in Massachusetts. They would be nice puritanical liberals drinking green tea and going to anti-Bush rallies and recycling their bottles, but instead they are all passed out in their urine-sodden trousers in random doorways — if only NH was more willing to enforce morality by means of the tax code. Now I see why the people of Massachusetts are such useless drunken sods. They are victims of an immorally low tax code to the North. Drink lots, then drive in Massachusetts.
This is sad because Lynch is in the process of DESTROYING NH with his education funding schemes, almost forcing us to have some sort of sales or income tax when it is NOT NEEDED.
We are up in arms about this! He took a pledge he would veto any broadbased tax but now this is happening.
He will go down in history as the governor who ruined the NH Advantage.
Dare I detect a faint whiff of April Fool?
Dear Mr Lex–
I am not a drunken sod etc etc. I am from a steate close to New Hamsphire. I visit friends there often. I bring back bottles of booze for me, my relatives and a few friends because it saves lots of money. New Hamshiore does not ask where I come from. They are happy to sell to me. I do not fall down drunk etc. In fact, I have a profession, have served honorably in wartime. Have a nice family and am not a leftist drunk. I was taught to seek the best value for hard hearned money and if saving money by buying at a tax-free place saves me money, hen I will do it rather than pay taxes in another state. That is capitalism at its best. As for drinking, I am not a drunk but do believe in usingbooze for the trickle down effect
Dear Mr. Cohen:
If you are not a drunken sod, then you are not taking the fullest possible advantage of the regulatory arbitrage that the good people of New Hampshire make available to you.
That is, of course, your personal choice.
I grew up in Massachusetts. We considered New Hampshire to be something like Appalachia, basically a state full of the banjo playing kid from Deliverance, but with Yankee accents. This was unfair, I now see. They are like that, but have guns and low taxes, and Mark Steyn lives there, which makes them OK.
Happy April Fools’ Day.
“1. no goods taxes in New Hampshire but huge property tax and nearly zero social services for those in need.”
A good friend of mine moved from Silicon Valley ( not exactly a low-income region) in California to New Hampshire. He gained lower taxes but much better public schools, police protection and quality of life. I’ve been to New Hampshire and no one appeared to be homeless in the streets; I can’t say the same for California, even in an area where very modest houses ( duplexes and townhouses to be specific)begin at $ 400 k+.
In fairness to California, their once excellent public school system and public health programs was destroyed *in part* by the disproportionate spillover costs of uncontrolled illegal immigration, something out of the hands of California officials.
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