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State Rep. candidate George Boag of Dracut is proposing the state sales tax be cut from 6.25% to 3%. The reduction would be done in two steps. The first year the rate would be lowered to 4.5%. If tax collections continue to grow it could be cut to 3% in the second year."I believe if question 3 had proposed returning the sales tax to 5% it would have passed. In the first year this is only 1/2 percent lower than what the rate was in 2009",Boag said. In 2010 Question 3 proposed lowering the sales tax within two months of the election and halfway through the state's budget year. The prospect of such a large cut within a brief period convinced many voters the question would have led to a chaotic budget situation.
Cutting the sales tax would boost the states economy according to Mr. Boag. "Being on the New Hampshire border this will allow local businesses to better compete. But in the rest of the state it would actually allow Massachusetts to be the low tax alternative to the neighboring states that all have sales taxes between 6-8%" He cited a study by the Beacon Hill Institute from October 2010 that predicted lowering the sales tax to 3% could create 27,000 private sector jobs, $70 million in investment and $1 billion in new wages.
State tax collections have increased since the 2010 election but spending is increasing at a faster rate. In the budget recently unveiled by Governor Patrick the amount of money collected over last year's budget is $900 million. Spending is projected to increase $1.6 billion. "Unless we return some of this new money to the taxpayer it will be eaten up by the ever growing state budget. Rather than taxing bottled water and candy we need to help people keep some extra money in their pocket."
Boag, a Republican, is running for the second time. The district also includes Tyngsborough. The seat is currently held by Colleen Garry, an eighteen year incumbent.