Major Fundraising Fuels Mass. Alcohol Tax Repeal

Supporters of a successful Massachusetts ballot initiative to repeal the state’s year-old 6.25 percent sales tax on alcohol outspent opponents by more than 10 to 1, the Boston Globe reported Nov. 4. 

The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts alone donated more for Question One on the state ballot than did opponents of the measure. In all, supporters of eliminating the tax raised more than $2 million, while the Committee Against Repeal of the Alcohol Tax raised not quite $200,000. (According to the No on 1 Campaign, the fundraising margin between supporters and opponents was 15 to 1.) 

The fundraising led to an ad blitz that helped narrowly win repeal; supporters garnered 52 percent of the votes on Nov. 2. 

Voters, particularly in communities near neighboring New Hampshire where tax-free alcohol is sold, appeared convinced by the argument that the tax placed Massachusetts alcohol retailers at a competitive disadvantage. “I’m thrilled with the vote. We were losing 8 percent of our business,” said John Harrington, owner of a liquor store in the town of Chelmsford.

Even other retailers not near the New Hampshire border said they were suffering losses because Massachusetts consumers were opting for cheaper products as a result of the tax.

State legislators increased the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent to address gaps in the state budget last year, and decided to remove the sales tax exemption for alcohol at the same time.

Among the major donors to the repeal effort was Anheuser-Busch, which, according to finance reports filed with the state, contributed $88,110.

The alcohol sales tax repeal is scheduled to take effect in January.

Major Fundraising Fuels Mass. Alcohol Tax Repeal

Supporters of a successful Massachusetts ballot initiative to repeal the state's year-old 6.25 percent sales tax on alcohol outspent opponents by more than 10 to 1, the Boston Globe reported Nov. 4. 

The Beer Distributors of Massachusetts alone donated more for Question One on the state ballot than did opponents of the measure. In all, supporters of eliminating the tax raised more than $2 million, while the Committee Against Repeal of the Alcohol Tax raised not quite $200,000. (According to the No on 1 Campaign, the fundraising margin between supporters and opponents was 15 to 1.) 

The fundraising led to an ad blitz that helped narrowly win repeal; supporters garnered 52 percent of the votes on Nov. 2. 

Voters, particularly in communities near neighboring New Hampshire where tax-free alcohol is sold, appeared convinced by the argument that the tax placed Massachusetts alcohol retailers at a competitive disadvantage. “I'm thrilled with the vote. We were losing 8 percent of our business,” said John Harrington, owner of a liquor store in the town of Chelmsford.

Even other retailers not near the New Hampshire border said they were suffering losses because Massachusetts consumers were opting for cheaper products as a result of the tax.

State legislators increased the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent to address gaps in the state budget last year, and decided to remove the sales tax exemption for alcohol at the same time.

Among the major donors to the repeal effort was Anheuser-Busch, which, according to finance reports filed with the state, contributed $88,110.

The alcohol sales tax repeal is scheduled to take effect in January.