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Mass. sales tax holiday set for Aug. 15-16

Pile up some cash. Polish up your debit card. Peek at your credit line. And have one last cook on your forlorn-looking old stove.

This summer’s weekend sales tax holiday is now law, and consumers will get to skip Massachusetts’ 6.25 percent sales tax on Aug. 15 and 16 — the weekend after this one — for purchases of almost all retail items costing $2,500 or less.

Governor Charlie Baker signed the two-day reprieve into law Thursday at a low-key State House ceremony.

Reading from prepared remarks, he thanked the Legislature for passing the bill and said the weekend can be a boost for consumers and local businesses.


Then the governor looked up and noted that he doesn’t have a flat-screen TV.

“The Baker family is thinking real hard about what will happen the weekend of Aug. 15 and 16 at our house. Especially since the one we have keeps shutting down when it’s supposed to be running,” he said. “My wife and I were looking at each other the other night and saying, ‘When is that sales tax holiday?’ ”

This year will be the state’s 11th sales tax holiday in 12 years (there wasn’t one in 2009, when the economy was struggling).

Although there was increasingly vocal opposition to the tradition this year — worries that the event just shifts sales rather than boosting overall economic activity and that it deprives the state of much-needed revenue — the bill passed the Democratic-controlled House and Senate by wide margins earlier this summer.

At the Thursday press conference, Baker also weighed in on the big political news of the day: the GOP presidential debate.

The first-term Republican governor, who has himself said he will never be a candidate for national office, expressed hope that the debate would be a substantive conversation about two main topics: the economy and the stagnation of wages, and issues of terrorism and foreign policy.


“If they just focused on those two issues,” he said, “I would consider that debate to be a big success.”

Baker probably won’t be watching the much-ballyhooed event live. He explained he’ll probably end up DVR’ing the Fox News forum.

He didn’t, however, give an indication about whether his old-fashioned TV will be able to replay it when he is ready to watch.

Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.