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Would You Go Out to Eat on a Meals Tax Holiday?

Despite the setback last legislative session, a restaurant alliance will try again to get the holiday approved in Massachusetts.

Would you be more likely to go out to eat if the state suspended its meals tax? The Restaurant and Business Alliance thinks so, and is gearing up to try again to get it passed in the State House.

Unlike , which is offered one weekend out of most summers, the meals tax holiday would benefit workers in Massachusetts since the amount restaurant workers make is usually tied to how many customers come in, according to Vincent A.J. Errichetti, the alliance's spokesman. Both the sales tax and meals tax are 6.25 percent in Massachusetts. 

"They understand that not only would it help waiters, waitresses and bartenders, but it would help an industry that is really hurting. And it would stay in the state," he said, contrasting it with the sales tax holiday, which he said increases sales for goods usually made out of state. 

However, not everyone in the State House thinks the meals tax holiday is a great idea. It got shot down last session in the House by a vote of 116-to-36, according to the Boston Globe. Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) called it  a "gimmick" and "bad public policy," adding that restaurants could use pricing specials or other promotions to encourage business, the Globe article states. 

Here in the South End, Jeffrey Gates, principal at the Aquitaine Group, said he would be in support of a meals tax holiday. 

"[Restaurants are] a retail purchase just like anything else," he said. "It's been painful that we haven't been part of a tax holiday, watching all these people go into stores and not seeing any of that benefit ourselves," he said.

"I don't think the consumer has healed from the economic damage of the last several years," Gates added. 

JMc September 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Nope. The Sales tax holiday is only worthwhile if you're making large purchases. Most folks aren't rushing to CVS on sales tax holiday - you just don't save enough. If you went out for a $30 meal, you'd save $1.86. If you stayed home you'd save $30... But, tax day has people who would shun a 20% off sale rush to the store to save 6.25%. Would just the thought of tax-free get enough people eating out to make the increase in business make up for the loss of tax revenue??
JJ September 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Not necessarily. It was a dumb idea last year and would be foolish this year. 6.25% is not worth going out specifically to save.
j k01 September 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Yes; anything that denies revenues to these leftist governments that we have in Boston and MA is worth doing.
Southender September 10, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Definitely not. 6.25% is nothing compared to the cost of a meal.
JJ September 12, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Move if you don't like it here. We are very leftist because we care about people.
Sara Jacobi September 12, 2012 at 09:58 PM
What about if people are going to spend $30 on a meal, but then since it's a tax free holiday, they order an extra appetizer or drink? Or they go out to eat and it's an $80 meal (this IS the South End...) none of you think it will help stimulate the restaurant industry?

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