Question 3: Cut State Sales Tax To 3%?

BOSTON (CBS) – On November 2, voters will decide if the state sales tax should be rolled back from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.

Supporters say this would put money in your pocket and force state government to cut wasteful spending.

Read: Question 3 Petition

Opponents say waste isn’t all that would be cut; they say it would be potentially devastating for towns and cities.

The sales tax reduction would cut $992 million in state revenue from FY 2011, and $2.5 billion in 2012.

“The lower the tax, the more money we move out of Beacon Hill into the private sector, the more jobs we create,” said Carla Howell of the Alliance To Roll Back Taxes.

Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon argues that cutting that revenue would result in cuts to schools and local aid.

“This isn’t a case of crying wolf.  This is a case of cutting off our arms and our legs if we go forward with this,” he said.

The Massachusetts Municipal Association estimates Beverly would lose $1.3 million, that Brockton would lose $17.2 million, and Worcester would lose $26 million.

Various polls show this vote could be close.

  • Tall Guy

    I agree that the State Sales Tax should be lower than it’s current rate but 3% is a bit much. Why couldn’t it just go back to the former rate of 5%? If MA really wants to cut wasteful spending then cut the hacks aka the State Workers.
    Massachusetts is in the process of converting all Cooperative Agreement employees to State Workers. Many people are leaving because their salaries are being cut in half and in one instance that I know of the job that one Cooperative Agreement previously filled is now being filled by two State Workers. The wasteful spending isn’t going to go away if Patrick stays in office.

  • hackwannabe

    3% is great, Make it 2.5% to make the calculations easier.

    The State does nothing for me. With the increase of the sales tax by 25% it cost me an extra $125.00 for my used car. That was a ski lift ticket for a season for one of my children.

    Thanks Governor Patrick.

  • Cynic

    Why does it cost so much just to exist in Massachusetts?

  • ellen

    because of the un needed spending our government does.
    they need to eliminate all the things that are not being used – millions of dollars for empty buildings for example

  • DStein

    This is a no-brainer. Absolutely roll back the tax. The sales tax never should’ve been raised in the first place. How about the Democrats on Beacon Hill stop spending our money? Deval Patrick and the Legislature jammed through a record-high $28 billion budget. The $2.5 billion that the rollback of the sales tax to 3% represents is less than 9% of the total budget. Is there any sane person on Earth that doesn’t think there is at least 9% waste in the current budget?

    I’m also tired of the fear tactics the government workers unions use in their ads. Why is it when we taxpayers want the budget cut they ALWAYS say teachers, firefighters, and police are going to be the first to go. How about protecting public safety for a change?

    Instead, how about slashing welfare programs that reward illegal immigrants?

    How about the Governor, our Legislators, and all of their staffs taking a 10% cut in pay and benefits? How about they cut their staffs 10% while we’re at it.

    They can also restrict travel expenses. In these tight fiscal times there shouldn’t be any reason our Governor and Legislators can’t stay right here in Massachusetts instead of flying off to some taxpayer funded junket.

    We could list a hundred things they could cut long before they got to teachers, firefighters and police. This time around let’s hold them accountable at the ballot box.

  • Steve Daigle

    Vote Yes. Any time we voters have a chance to take back control of own money, we should grab it. Don’t worry, your kids will somehow survive all the prophetic catastrophic rhetoric.

  • Justmyopinion

    I voted NO. Not because I like to pay taxes but because this initiative has poor planning and foresight in my opinion. I feel we should roll back to 5% but that question 3 is an extreme measure that will hurt cities and towns, and that means you and me!

    If Cities and Towns and the Commonwealth are unable to provide services and infrastructure then business will not stay and jobs will be lost, never mind created.

    Where will municipalities get their monies from then? More tax burden will fall upon property owners which will also make for an unhealthy business environment and an undesirable living situation for workers who may then leave the state.

    A move back to 5% would be sensible, and fair. Then what we need is leadership willing to take a hard look, and make hard decisions on how government spends our tax dollars. By restructuring the budget, eliminating waste, prioritizing needs, not going over “our means” the Commonwealth could position itself for further sales cuts (or better, property tax relief) to provide growth and opportunity without endangering services and the infrastructure.

    But that option was not available on question 3.

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