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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
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    Default Question 1: No Sales Tax on Alcohol - a Calculator

    Question 1 proposes to revert the new 6.25% tax on MA alcohol sales to 5%. As pointed out by a friend of mine on Facebook:

    I will be happy one week from now when the elections are over and I don't have to see/hear advertisements from wing-nuts on the left and the right. One thing I will miss, however, is the "Vote yes on question one" campaign, to overturn the sales tax on liquor (on top of the existing excise tax).
    My friend was referring to the TV commercial in which a reluctant liquor store clerk apologizes for turning customers upside down to shake loose change out of their pockets, the coins representing the impact of the difference between the 5% and 6.25% tax rates. In the ad, a different customer farther back in the line, seeing the "shake down," cries something to the effect of, "That's it, I'm going to [tax-free] New Hampshire."

    To put it candidly, the man fleeing to NH is most likely an alcoholic, an idiot, or both.

    I put together a quick spreadsheet calculator (attached, would love it if someone would check my math, then, iPhone App?) that allows shows two calculations.

    1. The amount of alcohol one would have to purchase to make it worth driving a given distance
    2. The maximum distance one should drive to make it worth a certain alcohol purchase size


    Here's the quick summary. If you live 20 miles from NH, you need to spend $836 on alcohol to make the drive worthwhile. Alternately, if you plan to spend $100 on alcohol (that's 5-10 good bottles of wine, 4 cases of Sam Adams, or 3 decent bottles of tequila), you'd better live within 2.4 miles, or the drive is costing you more than you save.

    And remember, if you do make the trek, make sure you've got a designated driver.
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