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12.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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archivedAtPressTime

ALCOHOL SALES TAX REPEAL GAINS MOMENTUM

A proposed ballot question for the November, 2O1O state election to repeal the recently-enacted 6.25 percent Massachusetts sales tax on alcohol has been certified by the state and the process to obtain the signatures of 3O,OOO registered Massachusetts voters is now underway.
The new 6.25 percent sales tax on beer, wine and spirits took effect Saturday, August 1, 2OO9.  “Since the Legislature took that vote in July, we have anticipated that package stores throughout the state would feel the impact,” said Massachusetts Package Stores Association (Masspack) Executive Director Frank Anzalotti. Masspack is sponsoring the petition to repeal the new alcohol tax. “Just as we expected, sales are down in most stores,” he noted.  “In a tough economy, adding a sales tax to alcohol is like rubbing salt into a wound.  It hurts – not only stores owners, but most importantly, it hurts consumers.  “This new tax,” according to Anzalotti, “was added to the $444 million in federal and state excise taxes and fees the industry currently pays to the state will result in lower sales, potentially more than 3OOO lost jobs and higher prices for consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet.”
Anzalotti explained that beer, wine and spirits sold at package stores in Massachusetts are already among the most highly-taxed products in the marketplace.  Even without a sales tax, 37 percent of the retail price of beer in this state is due to federal, state and local taxes and fees.  That amounts to about $8.88 on an average case of beer.  The additional sales tax brings that tax total up to about $1O per case.  “Massachusetts consumers have had it with higher taxes,” Anzalotti added.  “I can’t even begin to count the number of people who have told our store owners that they’re now traveling up to New Hampshire to make their purchases.  That kind of message, heard repeatedly from once-loyal customers, is all the evidence we need to know that Massachusetts is taxing us out of business.”
“This fight needs to be taken to the people, Anzalotti said, “and that is why the association is supporting a ballot question for the next state election in 2O1O.  The question should be simple and straightforward,” he noted.  “The voters should be asked one simple question: Are you in favor of repealing the 6.25 percent state sales tax on alcohol?  If what our customers are telling us is an accurate reflection of the mood of the electorate, this tax will be repealed by overwhelming numbers.”  For more information on the petition to repeal the alcohol sales tax, call Masspack at 413.736.6164.

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