Will Massachusetts have a sales tax holiday this year?

Retailers plan to put a permanent sales tax holiday on the 2018 ballot

BOSTON (WWLP)—Chances for summer savings with a sales tax holiday this month are looking slim. The legislature has not approved a tax-free weekend for August.

Massachusetts went without a sales tax holiday last year because of budget problems, and this year could be the same. Some lawmakers still question whether the state can afford a sales tax break.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo told 22News the legislature had to make significant budget cuts to account for revenue shortfalls.

“I don’t see it happening this year,” said State Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford). “I’m not sure if it would be fiscally prudent to waive the sales tax for a whole weekend when we’re not sure what the revenues are for this quarter coming up.”

Governor Baker filed legislation Wednesday to give you a break from the state’s six-and-a-quarter percent sales tax on August 19 and 20. But it may be too late. The legislature is on summer recess. If the legislature takes it up in an informal session, it only takes one lawmaker to kill the bill.

With the legislature unlikely to approve a sales tax holiday this year, Massachusetts Retailers plan to put a lower sales tax rate on the 2018 ballot.

“If we can lower the rate, and tell our consumer, remind them, that look, we’re trying to give you a greater incentive to shop locally to keep your important dollars in our economy,” said President Jon Hurst of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is filing several ballot questions to put a sales tax break in the hands of voters. The proposals include a permanent sales tax holiday and a reduction of the state sales tax to 4.5 or five percent.

The question must be certified by the Attorney General before it can make it onto the 2018 ballot.

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