MA fiscal watchdog warns against sales tax cut

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A fiscal watchdog group says that if voters support a ballot question to reduce Massachusetts’ sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent, a wide swath of state programs will see cuts of almost 30 percent.

The business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said in a report Wednesday the passage of Question 3 would create a $4.5 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2012, requiring cuts in local aid, higher education and human services.

The report also said approval of the ballot question, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2011, would create a $1 billion gap in state finances this fiscal year, requiring midyear cuts.

Lawmakers raised the sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent last year.

Supporters of the rollback argue the state can afford it, and that it would help businesses and consumers.

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