Sales tax reduction ballot question met with opposition from labor and transportation groups

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP)-You may be able to decide whether Massachusetts should reduce the state sales tax on the 2018. If passed, a ballot question would reduce the state sales tax rate to five percent. It’s a proposal backed by retailers, but it’s also receiving opposition from some transportation and labor groups.

Massachusetts currently has a state sales tax of 6.25 percent.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is leading a push to put a lower sales tax in the hands of voters on the 2018 ballot.

“We want our consumers, which represent 70 percent of the economy, to invest in our economy, not someone else’s,” Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst said.

Sales tax is the second largest source of state revenue, which helps the state pay for budget items, including transportation, education and funding for cities and towns.

Some transportation and labor groups are speaking out against the proposal. They fear it could cause budget cuts for programs that communities rely on.

“It will create a 1.2 billion dollar hole in a state budget that is in need of more revenue, not less, in order to make needed investments in education, infrastructure, health care and human services,” AFL-CIO Legislative Director John Drinkwater said.

Lawmakers are currently considering the proposal and could choose to pass it before it gets to the ballot. They have until May to take action.

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