WHITMAN (CBS) — State Representative Geoff Diehl says his campaign will help gather 10,000 of the signatures needed to get the sales tax reduction and sales tax holiday question on the 2018 election ballot.

The current sales tax is 6.25 percent and if approved, the sales tax would be reduced to 5 percent. The ballot initiative would also establish a permanent summer sales tax holiday.

Diehl announced in August that he was seeking the senate seat currently held by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Responding to questions about the sales tax roll back petition effort while he’s running for the Senate, the Whitman Republican talked about his successful 2014 petition drive to repeal the automatic gas tax increases.

He says the primary reason for the effort to cut the sales tax is good for Massachusetts families,

“It’a an effort to make sure that taxes go back down to help people keep more money in their wallets,” Diehl said.

Diehl at a press conference. (Photo credit: Geoff Diehl)

WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller says that Diehl’s campaign helping the sales tax reduction petition drive is a good move politically.

“Diehl’s tactic makes political sense on several levels. It may remind some voters of his most-notable political success, the repeal of the automatic gas-tax increase by a 2014 initiative-petition drive that Diehl co-chaired,” Keller said.

“It ties him to an issue on next year’s ballot that is likely to draw plenty of support, and with all due respect to Diehl, and may be inherently more popular than he is,” Keller said. “And it holds out the possibility that he can convert whatever voter enthusiasm is for a sales-tax cut into support for his candidacy, presuming Sen. Warren opposes the cut.”

Diehl says there are economic reasons for the roll-back of the state sales tax. Lowering the sales tax is good for Massachusetts businesses.

“It would make our state more competitive for retailers across the state because they’re really having a tough time, especially brick and mortar stores are competing on the internet. This will boost their sales and potentially grow jobs, as      as well as our economy,” Diehl said.

Diehl also believes his signature campaign will put control of the sales tax issue back in the hands of Massachusetts voters.

In July, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker filed bills with the legislature for an August tax holiday, but those bills were not acted on by the legislature.


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