MASSPIRG urges you to vote No on Ballot Questions 1 and 3

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On November 2, voters will cast ballots on two initiative petitions on taxes. We urge you to vote No on both questions.

Question 1 would exempt beer, wine and alcohol from the state sales tax

If passed, Question 1 would exempt beer, wine and other alcohol from the state sales tax. Alcohol does not deserve a special tax exemption. The state does exclude basic necessities such as groceries, clothing and prescription drugs from the state sales tax.  Alcohol does not fall into that category and ought not to be exempt from the state sales tax.

Question 3 would cut the state sales tax from 6.25% to 3%

If passed, Question 3 would cut the sales tax from the current level, 6.25% to 3%. Cutting the sales tax by almost 50% would create a $2.5 billion hole in the state budget. It’s MASSPIRG’s position that making such a significant budget cut would be irresponsible without an analysis, plan or proposal for a budget reduced by that much.  The hole would represent a 10% cut to the state budget on average, but that is not an accurate way to project its impact, because much of the budget, such as debt service on bonds, pensions, and Medicaid cannot or will not be cut that much. Reducing the sales tax to 3% would mean significantly larger cuts to many discretionary programs like education, transportation and public safety. Alternately, the legislature could make steep increases in other taxes or fees to make up the difference. The impact of such a severe budget cut would be especially grave given that there is already a projected state budget deficit next year of $1.5-$2 billion.

All four candidates for governor; Patrick, Cahill, Baker, and Stein, as well as leading business organizations like Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Business Roundtable; and many labor and civic groups oppose Question 3.