Retailers facing deadline for sales tax ballot question

Tax would potentially be lowered to 5% or 4.5%

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Wednesday is the deadline for a retailers’ group to file several versions of a 2018 ballot question, which would lower the state sales tax, and create a permanent sales tax holiday.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts says that they want to reduce the sales tax from the current 6.25% to either 5% or 4.5%.

The group is concerned about the impact that online shopping has had on traditional brick-and-mortar businesses in Massachusetts, because much of online shopping is tax-free, and competing stores in neighboring New Hampshire are also tax-free.

The sales tax rose from 5% to 6.25% in 2009 to close budget gaps that developed during the Great Recession in 2008. They are proposing four questions for the 2008 ballot, two of which would also establish a permanent sales tax holiday. This is the second year in a row that lawmakers have not voted on an August sales tax holiday.