Retailers push to reduce the state’s sales tax

To get on the ballot, a formal petition needs to be submitted to the attorney general by August 2nd

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – When searching for a great deal, saving some change is a top priority. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts wants to make that possible for more shoppers.

After conducting a research poll with Princeton Research Associates, the association found 80% of recently-polled shoppers agreed that reducing the state’s sales tax from 6.25% to some where between 4% and 4.5% would be more fair, and could help local retailers. The retail sector is now looking into making this sales tax cut a question on the 2018 ballot.

Assistant store manager Danielle Antes of the Cedar Chest, inside Thornes Marketplace, told 22News, “Everyone wants to pay less for items, so I’m sure it would be a good thing, but in the long run, I don’t think it would necessarily draw traffic into our store.”

Some local retailers say this idea of tax cut won’t make a huge difference on businesses, but they say what could be better for the marketplace would be imposing a tax on online retailers.

Gabriel Moushabeck of Booklink bookstore in Thornes agrees with this idea, saying, “When you buy online, you don’t always have to pay state sales tax, unless the online place that’s selling to you has a physical place in the state where you’re at. That’s an advantage, which I don’t think is good for us.”

Massachusetts’ sales tax used to be 5% until House Speaker Robert DeLeo pushed to raise it in 2009. The sales tax is the state’s second largest source of tax revenue, responsible for 6-billion dollars last year.

To get on the ballot, a formal petition needs to be submitted to the attorney general by August 2nd.

Click here to find what items are taxable, and which are tax exempt in Massachusetts.