Retailers say sales tax holiday cancellation hurt business

Stores had to scale-back workers' hours, Retailers Association says

BOSTON (WWLP) – The decision to skip the August sales tax holiday this year hurt both retailers and their employees.

As we have been reporting on 22News, tax collections are coming in short of expectations- especially when it comes to sales tax revenue. Massachusetts lawmakers opted to skip the August sales tax-free weekend to bring those dollars back to the Commonwealth, but many business owners believe that decision may have done more harm than good.

A survey by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts found that the majority of their members said overall sales in the month of August dropped by an average of 24 cents compared to the same time last year. Many of those employers had to cut hours; impacting tax revenues.

The Retailers Association says that waiving the two-day tax break had lasting effects.

“It brings sales back into Massachusetts, but it also gets people back into that mindset of shopping, and I think you see sort of a snowball effect in the weeks prior and after the sales tax holiday,” said Bill Rennie of the Retailers Association.

The group said that brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to compete with online and mobile sales.