N.H. Budgetwriters Agree To Cut Cigarettes Tax

House and Senate budget writers have struck a deal to drop the state’s cheap cigarettes tax a dime, down to $1.68 per pack. The agreement was part of a last minute package of deals needed to reach a compromise on the budget.

Earlier this session, the Senate voted 13-11 to kill the bill that would have lowered the discount cigarettes tax.

But for a majority of House members, a cheap cigarettes tax cut was one of its top priorities.

It proved important enough that at the last minute House Speaker Bill O’Brien leaned on his team to get the measure included in the budget, after negotiators had already agreed to shelve the plan.

In exchange for putting it back in, the House went along with the Senate position on education funding, additional money for retirement costs and a change to the Shore Land Protection Act.

Budget writers say they believe the tax cut will not cost the state any revenue dollars, and add that it could boost economic activity along the state borders.

Critics counter that the move will result in a loss of anywhere from $8-$16 million dollars a year.

If the cut results in lost income, the tax will be pushed back up to $1.78 in two years.