For Immediate Release - July 30, 2008

Governor Patrick Signs Bill Giving Consumers a Sales Tax Holiday

BOSTON - Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - Governor Deval Patrick today signed legislation granting shoppers a tax-free weekend this August. It is the fifth year in a row certain purchases will be exempt from the 5 percent Massachusetts sales tax.

The 2-day summer sales tax holiday is effective August 16th and 17th, 2008 and applies to items costing $2,500 or less.

"I am glad we can provide people with this small break in time for back-to-school purchases," Governor Patrick said. "We hope it stimulates all sorts of sales activity during what is otherwise a slow time of year."

"This law is good news for buyers and sellers alike, giving a break to consumers when they really need it and a shot in the arm to retailers during the traditionally slow sales period. For the fifth consecutive year, the summer sales tax holiday will boost sales for retailers and deliver discounts to consumers," said House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi (D-Boston).

"It's important to be consistent and preserve our trust with taxpayers by providing another sales tax holiday this year," Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. "A sales-tax-free weekend will be welcomed more than ever in this tough economy, especially with the high prices of food and fuel. The relatively small sacrifice in state revenue is worthwhile when you consider the positive impact on consumer confidence and taxpayers' wallets."

As in previous years, sales of telecommunications services, tobacco products, gas, steam, electricity, motor vehicles, motorboats, meals and items priced over $2,500 are exempt from the holiday and remain subject to the sales tax.

Massachusetts joins more than a dozen states in granting a sales tax holiday this year, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.

"The sales tax holiday weekend is a highly effective way to stimulate economic activity and couldn't come at a better time for the retailing community," said Jon Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. "We are grateful to Governor Patrick, Speaker DiMasi, Senate President Murray, and the members of the legislature for their leadership and support for retailers across the Commonwealth."