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Massachusetts tax hikes in effect today

MASSACHUSETTS -- Higher state taxes kick in today for gasoline and cigarettes.

The gas tax goes to 24 cents a gallon, while the tax on cigarettes will increase by $1 to $3.51 a pack.

Some business managers say the hike does not scare them.

"I don't foresee it really making or breaking business. People always find a way. Cigarettes especially are more of a lifestyle than a habit. As for gas, we need it. Unfortunately nowadays it feels like we are working to pretty much pay for our ways and means to get to work," says Jenn Blair, Assistant Manager of O'Connell's Convenience Plus.

"You absolutely do have to work more in order to put more gas in the car," says Jessica Roucouclet. "It is pretty outrageous, it makes things more difficult, it makes you travel less and commute less."

Blair told CBS6 she thinks the hike will force people to purchase cheaper cigarettes, and maybe even consider the electronic cigarette, which will not have a tax increase since it is not considered a real cigarette.

"There are other options. The 'Blues' are electronic, and they are all water vapor even though it still contains nicotine, says Blair.

According to an AP article, State GOP officials and business owners this morning plan to criticize the hikes at a news conference.

Initially there was talk of adding tolls on the Western part of the Mass pike to generate money, but lawmakers decided against that.

Residents from other states say this may stop tourists and residents from going to Massachusetts for cheaper rates.

"I may end up doing my shopping in Hudson, New York instead of in Massachusetts. We would normally do grocery shopping in Massachusetts and get gas at the same time because it was a quarter difference roughly in price, if there's not going to be a difference in price we'll probably just stay in New York," says Tom Bell.

In 2012 Massachusetts saw a small tax hike, but Blair says it didn't impact business.

"It was a small increase, but it didn't change the numbers one bit," says Blair. "It was steady, if anything we might of sold more of one of the sub-generic packs than regular."

The recent hike has stirred up a lot of controversy. CBS6 has heard a lot of complaints stating times are hard enough.

"I never think a tax increase is good. You know times are hard enough, enough people are out of work, instead of increasing tax revenue, why not cut spending somewhere else," says Bell.


 
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