Massachusetts No Sales Tax for Alcohol Initiative
|Elections in Massachusetts|
The No Sales Tax for Alcohol Question, also known as Question 1, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Massachusetts. The measure asked voters whether or not to repeal a sales tax on alcohol sales. The ballot measure for the 2010 ballot was added after the Massachusetts State Legislature increased the sales tax in the state from 5% to 6.25% and eliminated an exemption for alcohol sold in liquor stores.
Text of measure
The summary of the measure reads:
This proposed law would remove the Massachusetts sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol, where the sale of such beverages and alcohol or their importation into the state is already subject to a separate excise tax under state law. The proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2011.
A YES VOTE would remove the state sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol where their sale or importation into the state is subject to an excise tax under state law.
A NO VOTE would make no change in the state sales tax on alcoholic beverages and alcohol.
- Liquor retailers in the state had argued that the 6.25 percent sales tax on alcohol is making sales decline, that more people are heading to New Hampshire to buy their alcohol, since that state is tax-free. According to retailers, liquor sales in Massachusetts have declined from 10 to 40 percent in the past year.
- Senator Steven Tolman
- The Committee Against the Repeal of the Alcohol Tax 
- Massachusetts Hospital Association
- Alcohol is not a necessity and does not deserve a special tax exemption. The only goods in Massachusetts exempt from the sales tax are necessities like food, clothing, and prescriptions. If anything should be taxed, products like cigarettes and alcohol should be.
- The tax has brought in $93 million in the current fiscal year that has helped fund the operations of recovery high schools 
The following are major contributors in opposition to the measure:
|Association For Behavioral Healthcare Inc||$30,000|
|The Health Foundation of Central MA||$10,000|
|Recovery Homes Collaborative, Inc||$9,000|
|Spectrum Health Systems, Inc||$6,000|
|Bay Cove Human Services||$5,000|
|Behavioral Health Network||$5,000|
|CAB Health & Recovery Services, Inc||$5,000|
|High Point Treatment Center||$5,000|
|North Suffolk Mental Health Assn.||$2,700|
Path to the ballot
The initiative's supporters believed their efforts cleared the signature gathering hurdle on November 18, 2009, gathering and submitting approximately 115,000 voter signatures Signatures were submitted to all local city and town clerks in the state. The initiative was reviewed by the Massachusetts Legislature. Since the Massachusetts Legislature did not approve of the initiative by the May 4, 2010 deadline, petition organizers had to obtain signatures from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and submit them before or on July 7, 2010. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office, that number amounted to 11,099 signatures. Sponsors turned in enough signatures for the ballot, therefore allowing voters to decide on the measure. 
- The Boston Globe,"Senate approves sales tax hike," May 20, 2009
- Sabrix,"Sales Tax Increase Passes House in Massachusetts - Governor Promises Veto," April 29, 2009
- Wicked Local, "Massachusetts ballot questions announced by secretary of state", July 15, 2010
- http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/massachusetts Massachusetts election results
- http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/alcohol_tax_cut_seen_as_rebuke.html Massachusetts alcohol sales tax cut seen as rebuke
- The Salem News, "Election overview: What's on the ballot statewide", August 17, 2010
- Daily News, "Tax holiday not enough, say some liquor stores", August 12, 2010
- The Harvard Crimson, "Mass. Senate To Vote to Repeal Alcohol Tax", September 21, 2010
- no on MA one website
- Business Week, "Hospitals, insurers: Keep Mass. alcohol sales tax", October 5, 2010
- Boston.com, "A toast to the tax on alcohol", June 12, 2010
- Massachusetts Secretary of State, "Elections: Initiative Petition for Law"
- Boston Globe, "Toll ending question fails to make Mass. ballot", November 19, 2009