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Live Free or Live In Massachusetts

There are a lot of things about New Hampshire that are unique. And more importantly, there are a lot of those things that are worth boasting about.

One of them is our stubborn resistance to any broad-based taxes. New Hampshire is the only state that has neither a sales nor an income tax. In fact, our aversion is so severe that every election cycle we force our candidates to "take the pledge" against instituting either.

One fringe benefit of our lack of a sales tax is a tremendous amount of cross-border shopping. People from Massachusetts, Maine, or Vermont will drive miles to avoid paying taxes on their purchases.

Of course, these states have laws against this, requiring their subjects -- er, "residents" -- to notify the state of their purchases and pay the tax anyway. But it's an utterly unenforceable law, and I don't recall the last time anyone was hauled in for it.

Naturally, merchants of these states who live near the New Hampshire border have been getting screwed for years. They can't compete with businesses that don't have to tack on an additional 5% on to every sale and render it unto Caesar. And last year, Massachusetts merchants finally got the solons to listen to them.

For two days last August, just in time for "back to school" shopping, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts suspended the sales tax.

But this IS Massachusetts, remember. There were more strings attached to this "tax holiday" than were used in filming "Team America." The main one was a ceiling -- the tax was only suspended for items costing less than $2500.

But to a starving man, even the smallest morsel can be a feast. Sales skyrocketed, and I recall a few clever entrepeneurs offered "$2499 specials" for the weekend only.

It was such a hit, in fact, that they're doing it again this year, on August 13 and 14.

Now, New Hampshire wasn't overly thrilled by this. That little shenanigan probably cost our businesses a tidy hunk of change. But we took it philosophically. We've been benefiting from their stupidity and greed for ages; there was no guarantee it would last forever.

But this year, we're trying something new. Our new governor, on hearing about the next Massachusetts Tax Holiday, put together an ad campaign that will run up to and during that weekend. It'll remind Massachusetts shoppers that New Hampshire's tax holiday isn't two days a year, but 365 days.

I really haven't heard too much about our new governor, Democrat Peter Lynch, but based on this little performance, I think he just might be OK.

Comments (13)

Here in North Carolina we h... (Below threshold)

Here in North Carolina we have an annual sales tax holiday as well, with limitations, of course.

"Clothing, footwear, and school supplies of $100 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item; and computers of $3,500 or less per item will be exempt.

"Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the exemption and will be subject to the applicable tax."

For a place that alleges to be not-New-England, NC seems awfully tax-happy.

Maybe I'm missing something... (Below threshold)

Maybe I'm missing something. I'm not sure I understand how a state government can pay its employees, build roads, provide services to the residents of the state, etc. without taxes as the revenue source. How does N.H. manage to do these things?

Steve, it's simple: other t... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Steve, it's simple: other taxes and fees (our property taxes are pretty high), a monopoly on liquor sales (all liquor stores are owned by the state), and nowhere near the level of "state services" other states have.

And personally, I don't miss 'em a bit.

Also, we don't trust the federal government, because we don't know them. And we don't trust our local government, because we DO. So we don't give 'em much money to play with, because it's with money that lawmakers cause mischief. For example, New Hampshire state legislators get paid $100 a year, plus travel, for serving in office. That's no typo, that's ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS a YEAR.

Massachusetts, on the other hand, pays legislators over $50K/year, last I heard, and it seems like they feel the need to justify their pay by passing more and more laws, more and more taxes, etc. etc.



New Hampshire is the on... (Below threshold)

New Hampshire is the only state that has neither a sales nor an income tax.

Please, remind me...other than cows, what do you folks do?

Florida--no tax on earned i... (Below threshold)

Florida--no tax on earned income, but unearned income is taxable; property taxes, also a 6% sales tax on everything that looks like a transaction--has "tax holidays" for returning to school (similar restrictions to NC's) and for hurricane season. The latter includes things like plywood, batteries, generators, etc.

PA has no sales tax on clot... (Below threshold)

PA has no sales tax on clothing or food (other than food that has already been prepared). People from the surrounding states (NY, NJ, OH, etc.) tend to hit us pretty hard at certain times of the year when they are shopping for clothes.

Of course, everything that doesn't fall into those two categories has a 6% sales tax. The state also has a death grip on the liquor industry. Out-of-staters find it bizarre in the extreme that we can't buy beer in a convenience store.

Vermont's method of fightin... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

Vermont's method of fighting back was to levy a "safe harbor" use tax at income tax time. The state takes .04% of taxable income in return for giving up the power to assess additional use taxes for purchases under $1,000. You can choose not to pay this tribute, but that just waves the "audit me" flag.

Remind me again why I haven't moved to NH?

:::sigh:::CA is so... (Below threshold)


CA is so big a state, its prohibitive to cross statelines to shop.... 7.75% sales tax (at least in my county), no tax on grocery store food (Gov. Pete Wilson attempted a "snack tax"... idiot), nastiest state incomes taxes in the nation (have I mentioned we have the socialist wing of the Dem party with a strangle hold on the legislature..and because of gerrymandering that THEY control it has solidified them)

The only saving grace is our property taxes are capped due to maximum 1% of value at time of purchase and maximum 2% per annum increase in assessed value there after.

Not that this still remains a huge bone of contention with the Lefties, like Rob Reiner and the CA Teachers Assoc. They periodically try to gut it.

oops...grammar check<... (Below threshold)

oops...grammar check

last line ...This has remained a huge bone of contention ....

Actually, despite your comm... (Below threshold)
Phil in Boston:

Actually, despite your comment "New Hampshire is the only state that has neither...", I believe NH is not unique in this...Alaska (thanks to its black gold) also has no state income or sales taxes.

Not so fast, Alaska doesn't... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Not so fast, Alaska doesn't have a state sales tax, but it does have local sales taxes, so Jay's comment is correct to some degree.

I have to admit I hate going to visit family down South and paying the sales taxes-I sort of forget about them, until I hit the register.

And Xmas time is when I am glad I don't live down around Nashua, because Massachussette's drivers can't drive, and they are crawling all over the place.

To the fool who knows nothi... (Below threshold)
NH is great:

To the fool who knows nothing about NH. (Please, remind me...other than cows, what do you folks do?)

Myself, like so many others that have moved from the "commonwealth" (or any other state) to NH, here's a little insight:

What do we do? Well, in southern NH at least, we do every single thing anyone else in this country can do.

We're less then an hour from the seacoast (New Hampshire's seacost or Massachusetts'), less than an hour from the mountains, less than four hours away from Canada, less than four hours away from NYC. Boston is 33 miles away, we get its radio/tv stations, we get to drive to it in about 25/30 minutes - all this while getting to live in a beautiful, clean, friendly area.

Salem, NH is only 33 miles from Boston. No other state border is closer to the city of Boston than NH's is.

Sure, we pay a slightly higher property tax, but what we save on with other things far outweighs
it. Cheaper car insurance for one (even in taxachusetts and other states, people have their vehicles registered and insured in NH to save money).

Having no sales tax alone will save you more money than you could ever imagine. Think about this: every single time you buy something over the counter or at a store or where ever - no tax. Go buy a $40,000 car or truck and then register it. Guess what? NO SALES TAX to pay at the registry. Does your state offer that? I didn't think so.

Love to smoke? Great. If you live in let's say...
mass-a-loots-us, you pay about 5 to 6 bucks a pack. Here in "cow-hampshire, you'll pay 3 to 4 bucks. Hmm, NH is terrible, isn't it?

Speaking of "cows", you don't think other states that border NH have any cows? Try going outside of Boston heading west. You'll see more cows between Worcester and Springfield than you will between Salem NH and Manchester NH. I don't hear anyone blasting New York about all its cows. Is that because New York City is over 200 miles away from Upstate New York where all the cows are? Make sense before you say moronic things.

Oh, want to buy a new house in a new neighborhood for much less money than in nearby screw-a-chusetts? This is the place to do it.

Let's talk laws: NH has no gun law - go buy a gun and live like a "real American". And for those about to cry about what I just said... NH has just about the lowest crime rate in the nation. Makes sense doesn't it? "Step onto my property or business in an unorderly fashion and I'll drop a few slugs in ya".

Want to drive your motorcycle around with no helmet? Go right ahead. Want to light up a smoke at the bar or club? Go right ahead. Want to buy some fireworks and light them off in front of your house WITHOUT getting arrested? Go ahead. Want to drive your vehicle (as long as it's already payed-off) with no insurance? Go ahead.

Keep in mind, these are CHOICES. Does your state give you these choices?

DON'T want any of these things and want to live like a prisoner? Keep living in your state, or better yet - MOVE TO LAW-A-CHUSETTS

Its really not all that imp... (Below threshold)

Its really not all that imprisoning actually. Laws are meant to be broken. Thats why we just smuggle the fireworks. Why do you think more people live here?






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