Monday, June 22, 2009

Rant: Alcohol Tax in Massachusetts

Just read the local headlines of the Boston newspapers. Corrupt politicians taking bribes, rampant spending waste, difficult economic times for many families. Do we really need more taxes? Especially on alcohol?

The proposal for the new Massachusetts budget includes an increase to the sales tax, from 5% to 6.25%, as well as making that tax applicable to alcohol, which was previously nontaxed at retail stores. That budget is close to being enacted. Both the House and Senate have approved the bill and it is now up to Governor Deval Patrick. The Governor has stated he would veto the sales tax increase unless the Legislature also passed ethics reform legislation. So it is unsure whether the the tax increase will go through or not.

When so many families are having difficulty making ends meet, then how will additional taxes help them? From speaking to a number of people, it will likely cause many of them to spend less or go to New Hampshire where there is no sales tax. This will be especially noticeable in those cities and towns closest to New Hampshire. New Hampshire liquor stores already have good prices, and a decent selection, so why wouldn't people buy their wine and alcohol there? The alcohol tax will hurt small many business owners in Massachusetts, especially those small, independent wine and liquor stores.

If the state wants help with their budget, they should first directly address the problems of waste and corruption that exist. The Governor at least seems to understand part of that. Let us see if the Governor remains true to his statement though.

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