Support the news

Question 3: The Pros And Cons Of Cutting The Sales Tax07:53
Download

Play
This article is more than 9 years old.
Tedd Tripp, a retired chemical engineer from North Andover, speaks at a Merrimack Valley Tea Party meeting. Tripp says the tax rollback is absolutely practical. (Kirk Carapezza for WBUR)
Tedd Tripp, a retired chemical engineer from North Andover, speaks at a Merrimack Valley Tea Party meeting. Tripp says the tax rollback is absolutely practical. (Kirk Carapezza for WBUR)

When voters go to the polls two weeks from Tuesday, they'll face three ballot questions.

There are many pros and cons to the sales tax question, also called Question 3. It asks whether the state sales tax should be sliced by more than half — from 6.25 percent down to 3 percent.

Carla Howell, who was a Libertarian candidate for governor in 2002, wrote the ballot question. She says that keeping more money in people's pockets will stimulate the economy.

"That's money they can spend, save, give away, put an addition on their house, pay for their child's tuition, pay off their credit card debts," Howell says.

"It all goes back into the economy and creates jobs. One of the biggest beneficiaries will be retail businesses, especially along the northern border, where people run to New Hampshire to buy a lot of goods, and the retail sector especially along the border is hurt very badly by the high sales tax."

On the other side is Steve Crawford. He's with a group fighting the passage of Question 3 called the Coalition for our Communities.

Crawford says the state can't afford to lose the estimated $2.5 billion that could be lost by rolling back the sales tax.

"That is half of what we spend every year on public education in Massachusetts. People who say they want to send a message, voting in support of the question is not the way to do that," Crawford says. "This is a binding referendum. It becomes law, and every gubernatorial candidate is saying they will abide by the will of the voters."

To dig deeper into Question 3, WBUR's Bob Oakes traveled to North Andover, where he spoke with rollback supporters Tedd Tripp, a retired chemical engineer from North Andover, and Kamil Jain, who ran as an independent candidate for state auditor in the primaries.

Oakes also spoke with rollback opponent Rick Lord, the president of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Click "Listen Now" above for the interviews.

This program aired on October 19, 2010.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news