N.H. per-capita excise taxes among nation’s highest

New Hampshire collects the sixth largest amount of excise taxes per capita among the 50 states, according to a newly released white paper.In “Excise Taxes in the States,” researchers Thomas Stratmann and William Bruntrager of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., report that the Granite State collected about $606 per person in fiscal 2010 on such things as cigarettes, gas and liquor sales.This is nearly twice the national average of $387 per capita. Vermont, collecting $858 per person in excise taxes, was the highest in the country followed by Minnesota ($653), Nevada ($646), Connecticut ($630) and West Virginia ($615).While the figure is high, the state does rely greatly on excise taxes as part of its revenue-raising policy — for instance by aggressively marketing to visitors to spend money on liquor and encouraging residents along the state’s borders to buy cigarettes, gas, beer and the like.According to the report, “in 2010, New Hampshire collected the most tobacco tax per capita – $179 – and collected a large proportion of its total taxes from tobacco, at 11.2 percent of total taxation revenue and 29.7 percent of excise revenue,” said Stratmann and Bruntrager. “At $1.78 per pack, New Hampshire’s tax rate is in the top half for the states, but is far from the highest rate.”The state Legislature approved a budget that includes a 10-cent reduction in the cigarette tax.A copy of the report may be downloaded here. — CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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