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MA Tax Holiday Boosts Sales


Businesses are reporting huge jumps in sales from Massachusetts’ sales tax holiday over the weekend. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

A few weeks ago, the weekend of August 11th and 12th was approved for a waiver on the state’s 6.25% sales tax, and, according to the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, was very successful.

President Jon Hurst says that Association members are reporting big increases in sales.

For Tom Rich, of Paul Rich & Sons, a home furnishings store in Pittsfield, the weekend brought loads of customers, and estimated an increase over any of the previous seven sales tax holidays.

Rich said that the sales tax holiday serves as an indicator of a slowly recovering local economy.

Last year, it was estimated that Massachusetts lost out on $21 million in sales tax revenue because of the tax holiday. This year, Governor Deval Patrick set aside $20 million to cover the losses.  

But not all are supportive of the weekend event. Last month, WAMC spoke with  Mike Widmer,  President of the Massachusetts Tax Payers Foundation. He said that shoppers who wait until the sales tax holiday to make big purchases don’t influence sales over all, because they’re just using the weekend to purchase something they had already planned on buying.

But Jon Hurst says that as the sales tax holiday becomes more of a tradition, it only stands to benefit Main Street.

And Tom Rich says he hopes the now seven-year-old event continues.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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