If all goes according to plan, Massachusetts shoppers will get a tax break for the first time in three years when they go back-to-school shopping on Aug. 11 and 12.
The House has voted 124-8 to suspend the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax on those dates. The Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker are expected to go along with the move.
Baker had already approved a measure to make the holiday permanent starting next year, but this year was left up in the air.
The House attached the 2018 provision to an economic development bill. State Rep. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, said the holiday is extremely popular with shoppers and merchants.
She said parents looking for back-to-school bargains for supplies and computers particularly like it. Clothes are exempt from sales taxes in Massachusetts. “It’s a wonderful thing. It’s a win-win,” she said. In recent years the Legislature declined to approve the tax holiday when state revenue was low.
However, income is on the rise on Beacon Hill and the tax break made a comeback. In the past, critics have called the move a gimmick, saying it does not increase sales and just causes customers to delay purchases until the holiday comes. The tax break applies to items costing less than $2,500, Poirier said.