Boston City Council Rejects Massive New Hospitality Tax

The Boston City Council today rejected a substantial citywide tax increase on the sale of alcohol – beer, wine and spirits – that would have crippled Boston businesses.

“The City Council did the right thing today by rejecting the application of another punitive tax,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President Jay Hibbard. “This same proposal was soundly rejected last year and remains unpopular among Boston residents. Massachusetts voters also decided to exempt alcohol from the state sales tax during a 2010 statewide referendum – so hopefully lawmakers understand that consumers are weary of putting Boston area merchants at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to bars, restaurants, hotels and stores in bordering cities and towns.”

Currently, 47 percent of the retail price already goes to pay taxes of some kind for a typical bottle of distilled spirits sold in Massachusetts. On-premise sales of alcohol are also already subject to the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax and a 2 percent additional meals and lodging tax.