Yesterday, Governor Patrick signed the FY10 budget, which was jam packed with new tax increases, including a whopping 25% sales tax hike. While addressing the media, Governor Patrick was asked if struggling Bay State residents should expect a sales tax holiday this year. The Governor said a 2009 sales tax holiday is not likely this year given the current economic times.
This is where Republican lawmakers sharply differ from the Governor and the tax happy Democratic-controlled Legislature. While they see the sales tax holiday as missed revenue for the Commonwealth, we see it as much needed relief for financially tapped taxpayers. Last year, taxpayers saved $16 million over a two day period as thousands packed the malls and local shops looking to save a few dollars. Not only did our hard working families keep a few extra bucks in their pockets, but businesses benefited greatly as the sales tax holiday often takes place during the lull in summer business.
The sales tax holiday is something our state’s residents have grown to depend on and this year, the Republican Caucus is trying something a little different. We have filed a bill that would provide a sales tax holiday on energy efficient appliances. There are real benefits to owning energy efficient appliances; however, until recently the cost has dissuaded people from purchasing them. By providing a sales tax holiday on these items, not only are we taking positive steps to protect the environment, but we are also helping consumers save money in the long run.
After the sales tax increase goes into effect, local businesses will suffer as consumers head north to New Hampshire or even make a “B line” to the tax free internet. We are discouraging the spirit of entrepreneurialism here in the Bay State by making it almost impossible for new businesses to flourish and current ones to stay afloat. A sales tax holiday on energy efficient appliances would provide just a small glimmer of relief for struggling families and businesses in a state that has become incredibly unwelcoming to businesses and difficult to live in for families.