Massachusetts House approves August sales tax holiday

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts shoppers are a step closer to enjoying their first sales tax holiday in three years.

The House on Tuesday approved an amendment to an economic development bill that would suspend the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax on the weekend of Aug. 11-12. It also needs approval from the Senate.

Legislation signed earlier this month by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker would require an annual sales tax holiday beginning in 2019, but left open the question of whether one would be held this summer.

The tax-free weekend is popular with shoppers and embraced by many retailers who say it helps fill stores during an otherwise slow summer period.

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Critics contend it merely shifts sales from other times during the year while costing the state as much as $20 million in tax revenue.