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Alcohol Retailers Fight New Mass. Tax

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A new Massachusetts tax on liquor, wine and beer went into effect this weekend, but the state's alcohol sellers are working to reinstate a longtime sales-tax exemption on alcoholic beverages, the Associated Press reported July 31.

As part of a budget-balancing plan, state lawmakers raised the Massachusetts sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent, and also applied the tax to alcoholic drinks along with other goods and services. Backers expect the alcohol tax to raise up to $80 million in annual revenues for the state.

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association, which claims that the tax will hurt sales, is gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to restore the exemption. If the petition drive succeeds, the question would appear on the 2010 ballot.

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