BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Legislature is poised to pass a bill creating a sales-tax holiday for many items under $2,500 the weekend of Aug. 16-17.

The tax-free weekend is designed to boost the economy.

But WBZ political analyst Jon Keller found not everyone on Beacon Hill thinks it’s a good idea for the state economy.

“You have to give the public something once in a while and they really look forward to that,” said Senate President Therese Murray.

But not everyone agrees with Murray that a two-day tax cut is the kind of economic stimulus the state really needs.

“There’s much better ways that are much more connected to true economic development for everyone across the state,” Sen. James Eldridge of Acton said.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz agrees with Eldridge that the sales tax holiday is “decidedly not” good economic development policy.

So with nearly 200,000 people unemployed here and many businesses struggling to turn a profit what substantive measures did Beacon Hill take to boost the economy?

Murray contends that people will be “very pleased” with a comprehensive economic development bond bill that’s coming out of the Legislature.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr cited the research and development tax credit, which he said is “very important in Massachusetts because of the kinds of businesses that we have.”

But while it helps key life-science and technology sectors, that bill also gives tax breaks to broadway-bound show producers, a sour note to some, including Eldridge.

“I think often sometimes there are efforts to do gimmick efforts, small tax credits, and I happen to think that doesn’t generate a lot of economic activity and arguably wastes taxpayer dollars 9:52

The $20-to-25 million in sales tax revenue the state will lose that weekend is small change in the overall budget picture.

But as the Legislature wraps up formal sessions for the year, it’s worth noting the serious doubts that linger over the wisdom of Beacon Hill’s economic agenda.


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