Massachusetts Is Ready for Tax-Free Weekend [OPINION]
The weekend that many Massachusetts consumers have been anxiously waiting for is here at last. It's Tax-Free Weekend, when you get to screw the Commonwealth out of the 6.25 percent state sales tax. Take that, you robber barons! Justice at last for the little guy.
The tax moratorium applies to many goods up to $2,500 but does not cover food, booze, or clothing. Clothes are not taxed in Massachusetts anyway. How wonderful it would be if you could purchase that new car you've wanted or a new boat, but they cost more than $2,500 and don't qualify, either.
The tax-free weekend is a promotion that is used in other states, too. Florida waives the sales tax for two weeks to drive customers to brick-and-mortar stores. Governor Charlie Baker advocated for suspending the sales tax for at least a month, but that was frowned upon by state lawmakers who would be lost without all of that tax revenue to spend.
When traditional retail stores began getting hammered by online sales, the idea of waiving the sales tax for a weekend was adopted in Massachusetts. It drew the beach crowd into the malls during an otherwise dreary time of the year for retail sales. It worked. Its timing, in mid-August, drove back to school shopping and actually served as an unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season. It still does.
Sales tax-free weekend is a boon for electronic stores like Best Buy and stores such as Walmart. Expect to see an awful lot of big-screen TVs rolling out their doors this weekend. That is, unless everyone already bought one with their stimulus check this year.
The truth of the matter is that 6.25 percent savings are a pittance compared to what you would save on an August weekend without the sales tax being waived. Without the tax break, you might get the same stuff you'll purchase this weekend for 10, 15, or even 25 percent off.
Oh well, if it makes you feel good to screw the state out of a few tax dollars, then have at it. Just remember the local merchants whose future depends upon your patronage.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
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