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Mass. Senate Approves 25 Percent State Sales Tax Hike

This article is more than 10 years old.

The Massachusetts Senate has voted to increase the state sales tax by 25 percent.

By a 29-10 vote Tuesday, the Senate agreed to raise the sales tax rate from 5 percent to 6.25 percent, mirroring a vote taken last month by House lawmakers.

Supporters said the increase would raise about $633 million in the next fiscal year and help ease some of the deepest state budget cuts. Critics said it would drive consumers to the Internet or tax-free New Hampshire.

Senators on a voice vote also agreed to lift an existing exemption from the sales tax on beer, wine and alcohol purchased in stores, a change that would bring in an estimated $80 million for substance abuse programs.

Earlier Tuesday, the Senate rejected proposed hikes to the state gas tax and income tax.

This program aired on May 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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