BOSTON — The annual sales tax-free weekend will still be held this year despite the anticipated drop in state tax revenue because of the novel coronavirus.
The Baker-Polito administration said the tax-free weekend will take place Aug. 29-30. This marks the second sales tax holiday held under the new law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018 that made the weekend an annual occurrence.
"The annual sales tax holiday is an opportunity for us to support small businesses and consumers, and this year, it's a great way to support our economy that's been impacted by COVID-19," said Baker in a statement. "This pandemic has created enormous challenges for the commonwealth's small businesses, and the sales tax-free weekend is one way that we can encourage more economic activity to help Main Street businesses and local economies."
The holiday exempts retail items for personal use (up to $2,500 per item) from the state's sales tax of 6.25 percent. It does not include such items telecommunications, cars and boats, utilities and gasoline, meals, alcoholic beverages or marijuana. See more information here.
The effectiveness of a the sales tax holiday has been debated for years. Last year, the Department of Revenue estimated state tax revenue losses of between $16.7 million and $37.7 million. However, the holiday is very popular with citizens and small businesses — so popular that some Pittsfield businesses held their own "tax free" promotion in 2016 when the state didn't.
After two years with no tax-free holiday because of the state's financial condition, it was made a permanent holiday by law in 2018.
"As the commonwealth continues its phased reopening process, we recognize that many small businesses continue to face difficulties," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. "We are proud that our administration worked with the Legislature to enact legislation making the sales tax holiday permanent and look forward to this year's tax free weekend and the economic activity that will come with it."
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North Adams Veterans Memorial Bridge Deemed 'Structurally Deficient'
By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Jersey barriers and barrels were put up this week to limit a section of the roadway to two lanes. Plans are to soon prohibit large trucks from the bridge.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The 61-year-old Veterans Memorial Bridge has been declared "structurally deficient" after the most recent inspection by the state Department of Transportation.
The city's Department of Public Services in a Facebook post on Thursday said the state has issued weight limit restrictions and lane closures.
"These restrictions are due to structural deficiencies found during a recent inspection and are necessary to keep the bridge open until a repair plan can be implemented," stated the post. "Alternate truck routes [sic] detour signage will be posted over the next few weeks. Thank you for your patience."
The span is briefly narrowed to two lanes about halfway through its 171-foot span with barrels and jersey barriers.
"This is a precautionary measure, because there is some critical deterioration," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey on Friday. "So these actions are being taken to really make sure that the rest of the integrity is safe and that big heavy vehicles avoid the area when we get to that point."
The ratings posted by MassDOT's Highway Division on Friday list a deck condition of 7, which is considered "good." But the superstructure rated a 3 and the substructure a 5.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, ratings of 4 or less are classified as poor and 5 or 6 as good. The superstructure's rating of 3 lead to its designation as "structurally deficient."
Santa arrived on a fire truck with the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department and was greeted with cheers but a large crowd of children. He helped VFW members Joseph Bushika and Edward Denault in lighting the young tree, which replaced an older permanent tree.
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