Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was recently asked to elaborate on comments he made regarding the reduction of state sales tax while present at the Republican state convention.
While attending the convention, Governor Baker was heard saying that he was supportive both of a reduction in the Massachusetts sales tax rate as well as the establishment of a sales tax holiday that would take place each summer. However, when questioned about the matter just two days later, Baker was non-committal in his support of the measures but said that more conversation should take place.
A proposal by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts seeks to have a ballot question placed before voters that would have the sales tax rate lowered from the current 6.25% to the 5% rate that was state law before being increased in 2009. Supporters of the cut believe that restoring the sales tax rate to its previous level will help to stimulate the economy of the state.
Analysts have estimated that the tax cut would result in more than a $1 billion reduction in annual state revenue which opponents to the ballot question say will cause residents of the state to become unemployed.
One newly formed group, 'The Save Our Public Services Committee,' explains that this loss of revenue could hamper the state's ability to provide adequate school services, repair roads, and maintain current standards of health care services.
Deb Fastino, who works with the 'Coalition for Social Justice', says that the proposed sales tax cuts would result in the loss of jobs for police officers, teachers, and firefighters. Additionally, Fastino says that the quality and number of addiction centers and mental health programs would be negatively affected by the cuts.
Governor Baker stressed that he is still hoping that the issue will be solved by a legislative compromise that would eliminate the necessity for the question to be sent to the voters.