Flurry of Cross-Border Alcohol Shopping After Massachusetts Raises Tax

September 11, 2009

Earlier this year Massachusetts extended its sales tax to alcohol sales, and then raised the sales tax from 5% to 6.25% on top of that. Since neighboring New Hampshire has no alcohol tax, that's led to a flourishing market of Bay Staters going across the border, loading up their cars at state-owned liquor stores in the Live Free or Die State and then heading back.

That flurry of cross-border activity includes a Massachusetts state legislator that voted for the tax increase. Michael J. Rodrigues was flustered after he was spotted loading bottles into his car off the New Hampshire interstate. Massachusetts says they're not enforcing a state law that prohibits such activity, due to other priorities. From the Boston Herald:

Mike Cimini, owner of Yankee Spirits liquor stores in Sturbridge, Attleboro and Swansea, said he's lost about 10 percent of his business since the booze tax went into effect Aug. 1.

"It's absolutely unbelievable that a Massachusetts state representative would be that hypocritical, let alone be that bold to actually drive his car with political plates to a New Hampshire liquor store," said Cimini, noting Rodrigues represents communities close to his stores. "He's up in New Hampshire to avoid the very taxes he approved."

I sure hope Massachusetts isn't counting too much on that liquor sales tax revenue. More on Massachusetts here.

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