An example: State tax revenues in the first two weeks of August totaled $619 million, up $67 million or 12.2 percent from the same period last August. And that doesn’t include the $500 million tax hike that lawmakers approved in July.
But we still have the 6.25 percent sales tax rate, putting local merchants at a severe disadvantage.
It’s disappointing that our overwhelmingly Democratic state leadership lets the sales tax issue slide. It’s been well documented that sales taxes hit the middle class and working poor the hardest, but apparently the Democratic party, which allegedly stands up for the middle and working classes, chooses to ignore that. The handful of Republicans in our state Legislature who try on occasion to get the sales tax lowered are beaten down.
It’s tough to make a go of it in a “brick and mortar” downtown. Newburyport has seen a lot of success, but it is no small struggle to make that happen. If our state lawmakers are really interested in giving some more incentive to shopping downtown, they ought to revisit the sales tax hike.