Possible sales tax reduction question on 2018 ballot

The reduction could be as low as 4 percent

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts retailers are pushing to reduce the state sales tax, a decision that may come before voters on the 2018 ballot.

When you buy new furniture or appliances in Massachusetts, you pay the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. But you could get a break from the sales tax year round under a proposal from the Massachusetts Retailers Association to lower how much you’re taxed at the register.

Retailers are polling residents to reduce the sales tax rate to as low as 4 percent. Springfield resident Rick Paiva said the move could help low-income residents in his community.

“People that don’t have nothing, give them a break, a tax relief. The higher it goes up, money goes up, things go up,” Paiva said.

Retailers are considering repealing the sales tax altogether to allow Massachusetts to compete with neighboring states, like New Hampshire, and online shops.

Pieroway’s Furniture Store Owner Michael Ouimette told 22News he doesn’t think a sales tax reduction overall will bring more sales to his business. He’s hoping for a permanent sales tax holiday to get people off the couch and into his shop.

“I don’t think two percent matters. There’ll be no certain urgency to go and buy now. With the sales tax holiday, there’s an urgency to go out and buy this weekend,” Ouimette said.

But in the digital age of smart phones, some residents told 22News they would rather shop online and regardless, they’ll still buy what they need.

“It would help save a little money, but anything ain’t going to change because people go out to buy, it doesn’t matter,” said Chicopee resident Jorge Alicea. “We do most of the shopping online.”

In order for a sales tax reduction to be considered for the 2018 ballot, petitioners have to submit the question to the attorney general for review by August 2.