Sunday, November 7, 2010

Commentary on the Massachusetts Ballot Questions

Massachusetts alcohol sales tax cut seen as rebuke
Published: Sunday, November 07, 2010, 8:00 PM Updated: Sunday, November 07, 2010, 8:15 PM
Dan Ring, The Republican

BOSTON – The sales tax on alcohol will disappear on Jan. 1 after voters decided the state could afford that tax cut, but not a much more dramatic tax reduction that was also proposed on the statewide ballot, observers said.

While multi-million dollar advertising played a big part in determining the fate of the two different ballot questions, Question 1 – which eliminated the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax on alcohol only – gave people a way to take their frustration and anger out on Beacon Hill without slashing essential state and municipal services. Voters passed Question 1 by 52 to 48 percent.

Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said voters understood the difference between Question 1 and Question 3 on the ballot. Voters overwhelmingly defeated Question 3, which sought to lower the general 6.25 percent sales tax to 3 percent.

“Voters are a lot more intelligent than they get credit for,” said Brewer, a Barre Democrat.

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