Lawmakers still pondering sales tax holiday

Massachusetts went without a tax free weekend last year

BOSTON (WWLP)—Massachusetts’ sales tax holiday usually occurs in August. But only one week remains before the month begins and the legislature has yet to decide whether to give you a break from the 6.25 percent sales tax.

Last year Massachusetts went without a sales tax holiday. But according to lawmakers 22News spoke with, there’s still hope for summer savings.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said the legislature is still discussing a tax free weekend.

“Based upon what’s happening in the budget, we’ll have to take a look again at the finances and the present condition that we’re in,” said DeLeo.

Some lawmakers question if the state can afford a sales tax holiday this year with slow revenue growth. Tax revenues came in $431 million dollars less below expectation for fiscal 2017 according to the Department of Revenue.

To account for slow revenue growth, both governor charlie baker and lawmakers cut spending from this year’s budget. Current budget difficulties present uncertainty for a sales tax break.

Some retailers have also expressed concern over a tax free weekend, despite a possible increase in sales.

“I’ve heard from store owners that are saying they don’t like the sales tax holiday because people come in and it quadruples the workload that one weekend,” State Rep. Michael Finn (D-West Springfield) told 22News.

The Massachusetts Retailers Association is still pushing for a sales tax holiday. The legislature will likely need to act soon to give retailers enough time to prepare.