Attleboro DPW head opposes months-long sales tax holiday

SE Mass

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to extend the state’s tax-free weekend holiday to two months is being met with criticism in Attleboro.

Michael Tyler, Attleboro’s superintendent of public works, says the state can’t afford to forego the sales tax for longer than the usual designated weekend, which Baker signed legislation making permanent in 2018.

Baker’s proposal would waive the 6% sales tax on most items for the entire months of August and September to help businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. The proposal would return about $900 million to taxpayers.

The Baker administration said it was able to propose the extension, since the fiscal year 2021 tax revenue collections are nearly $4 billion, nearly 15% above benchmark. Additionally, the state was awarded significant federal resources, which helped reduce pressure on the operating budget.

While some taxpayers and businesses are excited about the idea, Tyler says he believes a better investment would be using state dollars to fix and maintain local roads.

“One of the number one complaints any municipality receives is about their roadways not being sufficient. It’s a quality of life issue,” Tyler said. “Our roads need attention now.”

On Wednesday, the Department of Revenue designated the annual tax-free days as August 14 and 15.

Baker’s proposal would need approval from both the Massachusetts House and Senate. The governor said the bill was being filed in time for legislators to take action before August.

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