November 24, 2017    

Sales tax cut winning support as ballot campaign moves forward

By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter Nov 22, 2017

BOSTON — Proposals to lower the sales tax, increase the minimum wage, and require employers to offer paid medical leave moved a step closer to next year’s ballot as backers turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures in support of the measures.

On Wednesday, committees supporting 20 statewide referendums were rushing against a midnight deadline to submit the required 64,750 signatures from voters to get on the ballot in the 2018 elections. The petitions were submitted to city and town clerks across the state, and must still be certified.

Backers of a proposal to cut the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent, and set a permanent tax-free weekend, say they’ve turned in more than the required number of petitions and expect to make next year’s ballot.

“Judging by the feedback I’ve received from volunteers, the voters have been very responsive,” said Jon Hurst, president of the Massachusetts Retailers Association, which is leading the initiative. “We’re going to have well over the required number of signatures to get on the ballot.”

The signature drive got a major boost from Republican Geoff Diehl’s U.S. Senate campaign, which collected about 10,000 signatures ahead of the deadline.

Diehl, of Whitman, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the 2018 mid-term elections.