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Tax holiday: But no spending holiday
In Massachusetts, not even the “tax-free weekend” is tax free. It is just another trick to get people to think that their government is looking out for them.
This weekend, Massachusetts residents can buy things in their own state without paying a sales tax. But don’t get carried away.
“In Massachusetts, the two-day exemption from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax excludes restaurant meals, cars, motorboats, tobacco and any item that costs more than $2,500,” The Boston Globe reported.
Up here, as Gov. John Lynch pointed out on Thursday in what has become his annual nose-thumbing at the politicians who dwell below our southern border, the sales tax is something we don’t put up with.
In Massachusetts, most items come with a 6.25 percent sales tax. Some people say that is not a lot of money. For pennies they will never miss, people can pay for essential state services. That point of view is hard to reconcile with this fact: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in July set aside $20 million in the state budget to make up for revenue that would be “lost” during this weekend.
Of course, the money is not lost. It is spent — by the people who earned it, on things they need or want, not by the state on things the politicians need or want. To put that $20 million in context, the state budget Patrick signed last month was $1.9 billion larger than last year’s Massachusetts state budget.
So hungry for revenue is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that it cannot trim spending by even $20 million out of $32.5 billion. It cannot let its people go a single weekend sans sales taxes without finding the same amount of money somewhere else so the politicians can spend it. It takes a “tax holiday,” but not a spending holiday.
The State of New Hampshire is not that ravenous. Not now. Let’s make sure it stays that way. Or one day we will end up living in a state that tells us we can shop tax-free one weekend a month, but only if we buy off of the politicians’ list of approved items.
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