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BOSTON (WWLP) – The August sales tax holiday weekend began ten years ago not only to help parents gearing up for the school year ahead, but to boost sales during the slowest shopping month of the year.
“In those days, people are on vacation; people aren’t really in the stores shopping and this kind of prompts them to come to our stores,” said Ryan Kearney of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.
For two days out of the year, the state waives the 6.25% sales tax on purchases under $2,500. Tobacco, meals and filling up your gas tank are still subject to tax. The dates are chosen by state lawmakers, who had a bit of a power struggle this year deciding between the second or third weekend in August.
One shopper told 22News that legislators should just pick a weekend and make it permanent. “If they said it’s the last weekend, or the second to last weekend in August then people could plan,” said Bill Carroll of Boston.
Both retailers and state lawmakers say it all depends on the economy. “Some years we’ve done it, some years we haven’t and it just depends on how people view whether it will hurt or help the economy at the time,” said Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst).
The tax-free weekend is August 16 and 17.