Last time around the Massachusetts ballot questions covered hot topic issues like dog racing, state personal tax and marijuana. Now Massachusetts residents are faced with ballot questions regarding sales tax on alcohol. Read about Massachusetts Ballot Question 1, its supporters, opponents and the money behind the question. Included is information about alcohol sales tax in other states. Inform yourself before you vote.
Massachusetts Ballot Questions 2010: Question 1: Sales Tax on Alcoholic Beverages
Brief History: The current 6.25% tax on alcohol and alcoholic beverages sold in package stores is fairly new. The Massachusetts State Legislature removed the previous tax exemption on the alcohol sales. At the same time, they increased Massachusetts sales tax from 5% to 6.25%.
States and Retail Alcohol Tax
Currently there are only five other states that don’t charge tax on alcohol according to the Boston Globe. They are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
With its 2009 sales tax on alcohol, Massachusetts joined Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina, five other states that also passed retail sales tax laws in the same year.
You can compare state sales tax on alcohol with this chart from the Tax Foundation.
Voting yes on Question 1 would remove the sales tax. Proponents of voting yes say the tax is a double tax because consumers already pay excise tax. Small business owners, particularly those near the New Hampshire border would also benefit from the repeal of the tax. The tax is seen as a “sin tax” akin to the taxes on cigarettes. Because the tax came at the same time as the sales tax increase, consumers and businesses may have felt it hit them too hard.
Who is in favor of voting Yes on Question 1?
Sometimes the supporters of a ballot question give voters an insight into the benefits and drawbacks of the question. The following groups support voting yes on question 1, to repeal the sales tax on alcoholic beverages.
Vote Yes on One Committee
The Massachusetts Package Stores Association
Follow the Money: Groups That Have Contributed to the Vote Yes on One Campaign according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Election Finance.
Beer Distributors of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Package Stores Association, Inc.
M.S. Walker, Inc.
Vinnin Square Liquor, Inc
Village Mall Liquors
Voting No on Question 1 would keep the legislature’s tax in place and consumers would continue paying the 6.25% tax. Proponents of keeping the tax say alcohol should not be given the same exemption that other necessities (food, clothing and prescriptions) are given in the state of Massachusetts. The money from the taxes funds three “recovery high schools” for teens suffering from alcohol and drug dependency.
Who is in favor of voting No on Question 1?
Committee Against Repeal of the Alcohol Tax, c/o The Association for Behavior Health
Follow the Money: Groups That Have Contributed to the Vote No on One Campaign according to the
Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Election Finance.
Association For Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
The Health Foundation of Central MA
Recovery Homes Collaborative, Inc
Spectrum Health Systems, Inc.
Bay Cove Human Services