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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Mixed Reaction To Tax Break

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tala Neathawk said the weekend's state sales tax suspension was "awesome."
North Adams – The state’s weekend suspension of a five percent sales tax on items priced at $2,500 or less was met with a “ho-hum” attitude by some city shoppers, while others were downright gleeful about the tax break.

The Central Radio appliance and furniture store on Roberts Drive was filled with customers during the Aug. 13 late morning, and every clerk at the store was busy with shoppers. Adams Selectman Edward MacDonald was at the store for purposes of a possible purchase, but added that he was looking at air conditioners. It was the heat, not a tax-break, that put MacDonald in a buying mood, he said.

“It’s hot and I needed [an air-conditioner],” he said. “The tax
break had nothing to do with it.”

A Good Concept

While saving the sales tax wasn’t his personal incentive, MacDonald said that the two-day tax respite is a benefit to state citizens.

“Companies and corporations get tax breaks and incentives,” he said. “The tax-free weekend provides an incentive for the working man. The public pays sales tax every day, and it’s a chance to give them a break. The tax-free days are a good concept. It gives the working person a chance to get something back.”

The concept should be expanded to include vehicles, MacDonald said, and added that $2,500 of a vehicle purchase price could be rendered tax-free.

MacDonald said that he’d visited several retail shops before he arrived at the Central Radio store.

“Every place I’ve been has been packed,” he said. “This generates local business.”


The Central Radio store parking lot was filled with vehicles on Aug. 13, the first tax-free day of the weekend.
Several customers used the tax-free time to stock up on quilting supplies, said Tala’s Quilt Shop owner Tala Neathawk. The shop is located at the Western Gateway Heritage State Park’s retail corridor.

“I think the tax-free days are awesome,” Neathawk said. “ I did have some ladies come in that were very excited about it. I wish it could be longer, like Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so that people could have even more access. There are people who would benefit from the extra day.”

Some People Went Camping

But at the Curran Highway Wal-Mart, the parking lot had numerous vacant spaces at noon, and many shoppers were seen leaving the store with small shopping bags of seemingly minor purchases.

Eight shoppers said that they were not shopping because of the tax-free status but were picking up small items that they needed. One man left the store with both arms filled with camping supplies, but said that tax-free or not, he needed the items.

“You can put that in your article, that on tax-free weekend, some people are just going camping,” he said.

Two women said they’d come to buy clothing because of the tax relief; when told that there is no state sales tax on clothing, they laughed, shrugged their shoulders, and entered the store.

Two Takes On Tax Breaks

But Donna Duschain of North Adams said she was delighted with the chance to escape the sales tax burden.

“I did really well,” she said. “I got different kinds of dog food, dog chews, and paper products. If it wasn’t tax-free day, I wouldn’t have bought some of what I did buy, and I certainly wouldn’t have bought two of the things that I normally buy.”

Paul Hopkins of North Adams was shopping but said that the tax-free weekend wasn’t generating any particular enthusiasm.

“Make the price of gas go down, then you’ll get me excited,” Hopkins said.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.
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