As a Massachusetts voter, I have a chance on Nov. 2 to roll back the state sales tax rate from 6.25 to 3 percent. Question 3, filed under the ‘3% Sales Tax Relief Act,’ and listed on the ballot as ‘Sales and Use Tax Rate’ is honestly, quite alluring. After all my research and study, though, I am cautiously optimistic about casting a yes vote. I am equally reluctant, too.
Will I be supporting a tax reduction that could prove detrimental to the economy? Is a roll back to three percent out of all proportion in a struggling economy? On the other hand, will it force Massachusetts Legislature to quash some of its wasteful spending — easing the ever-growing tax burden dumped on the harried residents of Massachusetts?
Sponsors Vision of the Tax Roll Back
The tax relief measure is sponsored by the Alliance to Roll Back Taxes. Carla Howell (I), who heads the organization, confidently believes, the tax roll back “will create 33, 000 new private sector jobs.”
I, too, can easily imagine private sector jobs coming back into existence with some much-needed tax relief. I am not sure if I agree with Howell’s figure, but it is not impossible either.
Many small businesses folded in Massachusetts in the last three years. The overall economy, like the rest of the nation, was stagnant. In August of 2009, Governor Deval Patrick, raised the sales tax rate from five percent to the current 6.5.
The sales tax increase came at a time when people continued to lose jobs at at a rapid pace. Spending in any form was at a crawl. The tax increase was a blow to many businesses, and to the hard-working people of the state — those who were lucky to have a job.
Although I hold opposing views on a number of arguments that favor a tax roll back, I do agree with some. Carla Howell’s point of view, as to why fewer jobs exist when we allow politicians to “…tax and spend,” is one I support. To boost my state’s economy, it is essential for Massachusetts politicians to share state contracts with small businesses.
State Contracts and Crooked Politics
Howell states on her Alliance website, “Politicians hand out high salaries and generous benefits to government unions and government contractors.”Voters in the Bay State, including me, are not in the dark when it comes to underhanded contract shenanigans here.
The questionable awarding of state contracts brings to mind, the 2009, Boston grand jury indictment of former Massachusetts House Speaker, Sal DiMasi. DiMasi, who stepped down as House Speaker, under the pressure of serious ethics allegations, is accused of a wire and mail fraud scheme and conspiracy.
DiMasi, along with three associates, were indicted on charges involving a 2007, $15 million state contract with a software company, which apparently fell through after all. DiMasi, who pled not guilty, is accused of receiving $57,000 in bribes from a company called Cognos.
When the Massachusetts government refuses to share those contracts, it takes small businesses out of the picture. In turn, people cannot make a decent living. Therefore, they flee the Commonwealth, taking their potential for spending money in the state, with them. This seriously hampers our economy.
It is a vicious cycle. It is we taxpayers — the ones still standing, who have to open our wallets again. As a life-long resident, I know it is expensive to live in Massachusetts. I will not even get into the rocketing cost of our mandatory health insurance. Suffice it to say, since July, mine jumped $350 a month. I implore it to be a mistake, but I know it is not. The tax roll back is starting to sound better with every word I write.
I am not an economy guru. Nevertheless, it seems to me, if we are to breathe life into the Massachusetts economy, lowering the sales tax rate is a logical beginning. People may shop in the Commonwealth and not tax-free New Hampshire. However, a roll back to three percent might be extreme.
I do not want to see any more people go without services than are already making do in Massachusetts. A five percent sales tax might make more sense right now. If I knew for sure, that a roll back to three percent would put an end to wasteful government spending, though, I would unreservedly cast a “yes” vote in November.
Massachusetts Elections Division – Ballot Question 3
Alliance to Roll Back Taxes
“Massachusetts Sales Tax Relief,” Ballotpedia.com
“Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi Indicted,” WBZ-TV Boston