After a one-year hiatus, the sales tax holiday is back. The 6.25 percent tax will be lifted for shoppers this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15. The tax reprieve applies to most retail items costing $2,500 or less and covers beer, wine and alcohol sales.
Gov. Deval Patrick okayed the tax holiday last Thursday when he signed a broader economic development bill. Retailers and tax holiday supporters say the enhanced economic activity outweighs the millions of dollars in sales tax revenues the state will forego over the weekend – the Department of Revenue estimates taxpayers will save between $20 million and $23 million.
Critics of the holiday say it doesn’t boost economic activity, as proponents claim, but rather shifts it. They also argue shoppers have a better opportunity to save on purchases by taking advantage of sales and price markdowns.