Massachusetts Alcohol Tax Repeal: Why Deciding How to Vote is Harder than You’d Think

On November 2nd, 2010 Massachusetts voters will have a chance to decide whether to repeal the sales tax on alcohol which was introduced in 2009.  Alcohol went from being exempt from sales tax to being taxed at 6.25% as part of a general sales tax increase from 5% to 6.25%.  A “Yes” vote on Question 1 would repeal the alcohol sales tax, a “No” vote would keep it as is.

Alcohol has always been taxed in Massachusetts — as an excise tax when alcohol trades hands from distributors to retailers and restaurants. I assumed that Massachusetts must have a sky high excise tax rate.  Not so.  As I did some research on this topic I found some data that surprised me: 
Head on over to BevSites to read why deciding how to vote on this question is harder than you’d think…

Incumbent Governor Deval Patrick (D) is in favor of maintaining the sales tax, challengers Charlie Baker (R) and Tim Cahill (I) are in favor of repealing it.

Update (November 3rd, 2010): “Yes” voters narrowly approved of this question meaning the alcohol sales tax should be repealed.  More here.


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