2010 Information For Voters

QUESTION 3: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition

Sales and Use Tax Rates

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 4, 2010?

SUMMARY

As required by law, summaries are written by the State Attorney General, and the statements describing the effect of a “yes” or “no” vote are written jointly by the State Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

This proposed law would reduce the state sales and use tax rates (which were 6.25% as of September 2009) to 3% as of January 1, 2011. It would make the same reduction in the rate used to determine the amount to be deposited with the state Commissioner of Revenue by non-resident building contractors as security for the payment of sales and use tax on tangible personal property used in carrying out their contracts.

The proposed law provides that if the 3% rates would not produce enough revenues to satisfy any lawful pledge of sales and use tax revenues in connection with any bond, note, or other contractual obligation, then the rates would instead be reduced to the lowest level allowed by law.

The proposed law would not affect the collection of moneys due the Commonwealth for sales, storage, use or other consumption of tangible personal property or services occurring before January 1, 2011.

The proposed law states that if any of its parts were declared invalid, the other parts would stay in effect.

WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO

A YES VOTE would reduce the state sales and use tax rates to 3%.

A NO VOTE would make no change in the state sales and use tax rates.

See Full Text of Question 3

ARGUMENTS

As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: Last year, the State Legislature and Governor Deval Patrick raised the sales tax to 6.25%.

Thousands of people lost their jobs.

Your YES vote rolls back the sales tax to 3% and:

  • creates 32,929 productive, sustainable jobs
  • gives back an average of $688 - every year - to each taxpayer
  • saves Northern Massachusetts Retail Businesses and jobs by keeping shoppers here – instead of driving them to New Hampshire’s 0% sales tax
  • attracts shoppers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and New York.

It safely trims fat: 5% from $52 billion in total state government spending. It does NOT reduce spending for cities and towns, police, firefighters, schools, roads -- NOR any essential service. Not a dime.

Vote YES to reduce:

  • Government Waste
  • Bureaucracy
  • Sweetheart Deals for rich corporations
  • Union-inflated plush pensions that give government employees full retirement pay as early as age 54.

Vote YES for fiscal responsibility and desperately-needed JOBS.

Authored by:
Carla Howell
Alliance to Roll Back Taxes
P.O. Box 5268
Wayland, MA 01778
508-645-4099
www.RollBackTaxes.com

AGAINST: The sales tax helps pay for things we all value and rely on. We all want good schools, police and fire protection, safe roads and bridges, clean water and quality health care. Cutting the sales tax by more than half will prevent us from achieving these goals we share.

Our communities rely on local aid to pay for schools, public safety, and emergency services. Local aid has already been cut by 25 percent in the last two years, forcing communities to reduce services. This proposal would result in further cutbacks.

This proposal would take away $2.5 billion in state revenue. This is about half the total amount the state sends to our communities each year to help pay for public education.

The recession has forced communities to reduce services. We cannot keep cutting without doing lasting harm to our schools, health care and the services that strengthen our communities.

Authored by:
Joanne Blum
MA Coalition for Our Communities
20 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
617-878-8317
www.votenoquestion3.com