Saturday, September 1, 2012
Group Continues Push for Meals Tax Holiday. Good for Charlestown?
Despite the setback last legislative session, a restaurant alliance will try again to get the holiday.

Would you be more likely to go out to eat in Charlestown or Boston-proper if the state suspended its meals tax? The Restaurant and Business Alliance thinks so, and is gearing up to try again to get it passed in the State House.

Unlike the sales tax holiday, which is offered one weekend out of most summers, the meals tax holiday would benefit workers in Massachusetts since the amount restaurant workers make is usually tied to how many customers come in, according to Vincent A.J. Errichetti, the alliance's spokesman. Both the sales tax and meals tax are 6.25 percent in Massachusetts.

"They understand that not only would it help waiters, waitresses and bartenders, but it would help an industry that is really hurting. And it would stay in the state," he said, contrasting it with the sales tax holiday, which he said increases sales for goods usually made out of state.

His group on Tuesday released the list of the "Great 8 Legislators" who it says helps the restaurant industry. They are Sen. Anthony Petruccili (D-East Boston), Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville), Sen. Michael Moore (D-Milbury), Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton), Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole), Rep. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), Sen. Brian Joyce (D-Milton) and Rep. Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge).

"With these Great 8 legislators, and the leadership of Speaker (Robert) DeLeo, we were able to put forth common sense reform that help encourage job growth," Dave Andelman, President of the Restaurant and Business Alliance, said.

But not everyone in the State House thinks the meals tax holiday is a great idea. It got shot down last session in the House by a vote of 116-to-36, according to the Boston Globe. Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) called it a "gimmick" and "bad public policy," adding that restaurants could use pricing specials or other promotions to encourage business, the Globe article states.