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Senator Spilka Votes for Sales Tax Holiday

July 29, 2011

BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday approved a sales tax holiday weekend for August 13 and 14, making it the sixth year the Commonwealth will provide a sales tax exemption for two days and the seventh year with at least one sales-tax-free day, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) announced.

“As the Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, I am thrilled the Senate acted quickly to create a sales tax holiday this August,” Senator Spilka said. “We heard support for the holiday from retailers and consumers across the state. This bill will help local businesses and working families – giving everybody a break just in time to send our kids back to school.”

“The time is right to pass a sales tax holiday again,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “Our economy continues to improve, revenues are up, and we welcome the needed relief for taxpayers while helping to boost sales and consumer confidence. Last year alone, the sales tax holiday saved shoppers $20 million, the highest ever since 2004. It is a great incentive for customers and generates a lot of business for retailers and small businesses.”

Tax collections for all of Fiscal Year 2011 were $20.5 billion, which is $2 billion more than the Fiscal Year 2010 collections and $723 million above benchmark. Also, revenue for the month of June came in at $2.1 billion – a 5.2 percent increase from June 2010 and $48 million above the monthly benchmark.

The Senate has consistently supported a sales tax holiday since it began seven years ago. As in previous years, the sales tax holiday will apply to purchases under $2,500. Additionally, it excludes vehicles, motorized boats, tobacco, meals and utilities.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the sales tax holiday has saved consumers nearly $100 million since 2004. The legislature has passed it every year since then, except in 2009, when the recession was at its worst.

The bill will go to the Governor for his signature after final enactment with the House on Friday.

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