Sales tax free weekend might not happen for second straight year

For some small businesses, the tax relief provides big sales

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A sales tax free weekend could be out the question for a second year. The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is taking matters into its own hands, with a proposal to lower the state’s sales tax from 6.25% to around 4.5%.

Barbara Koby of Northampton told 22News that a tax free weekend would be great for shoppers, but not so great for the economy. She said, “We need the revenue for many different things in Massachusetts, education, etc. It’s a complicated issue. And I think the economists have to really study it and come up with a lot of answers, very good economists.”

Lawmakers recently approved a more than $40-billion budget, with spending cuts in several areas. And with slow revenue growth and raising cost, the state may not be able to afford the luxury of a tax-free weekend.

This leaves some businesses frustrated about losing money to nearby states with lower taxes or no sales tax at all, like neighboring New Hampshire.

For some small businesses, the tax relief provides big sales.

Anna Bowen of Strada Shoes in Northampton, told 22News, “We actually do more, which is ironic, since there really isn’t, often, sales tax on shoes anyway. I think the perception is that everything is taxed, so if there’s a sales tax holiday then it does get customers to come out.”

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is hoping to get enough signatures to place the question on the 2018 ballot.