The MLA for Cumberland North says there’s not a lot that can be done to alleviate concerns from local retailers losing customers to lower taxes in the next province over.
Convenience store owner Mike LeBlanc made his concerns public over the last few weeks with a sign posted outside his South Albion Street business in Amherst. The sign thanked the Nova Scotia government for the high taxes, mockingly signed by New Brunswick retailers.
MLA Brian Skabar says little can be done to stop cross-border shopping.
“There’s no real way to stop cross-border shopping for things like cigarettes like there is in fuel,” Skabar said, noting that the gas issue was one of his platform commitments during the election campaign.
“Customers will get one tank worth of fuel at one time, so it does make business sense to make that change in the border towns. For people that are going to be buying cigarettes, they’ll travel 40 or 50 kilometres and get as many as they can afford at any given time.”
LeBlanc voiced his concerns about losing a quarter of his customers since the price of tobacco increased by $10 per carton. The price increase was introduced by the previous Conservative government and put into effect by the new NDP government.