Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Traveling to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving? Here's our travel guide.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, and as usual, Massachusetts will open its doors to thousands of out-of-state holiday tourists this week.

If you're one of those tourists visiting us from out-of-state, welcome! If you're here for the first time in a while, you might notice that some things have changed. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Depending on when you last visited us, you might notice that things are more expensive than they used to be. Why? Well, in the past year or so, legislators have approved hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes and fees. Here's a primer:
    1. Our state sales tax increased from 5 percent to 6.25 percent last August. So, everything you buy will automatically cost more. (And, the tax is tougher to figure out in your head.) We apologize on behalf of Massachusetts for this extra tax, but we need your help paying for things like per diems for state legislators. Thanks for chipping in.
    2. Thinking of getting a nice bottle of wine as a holiday housewarming gift for your hosts? Well, bad news. When the sales tax increased last year, it was also expanded to cover the retail sale of beer and alcohol - and, that's on top of the pre-existing excise tax. We apologize, but there's also good news. Voters repealed the tax at the ballot box in November. So, if you come back next year, the tax will be gone. We think.
    3. Staying in a hotel instead of with relatives? More bad news. Massachusetts allows cities and towns to impose a local option tax on hotel stays, and it went up last year, too. It was a 4 percent cap, now it's up to 6 percent (6.5 percent in Boston). Our state doesn't pay enough local aid to fund municipal services, so it's up to you to make up the difference.
  • U r not going 2 like this 4 sure... No texting while driving in Massachusetts. Traffic conditions remain more or less the same, however, and it's still basically impossible to find out where you're going. Some of our roadways are being fixed up, though. Thanks for all of that ARRA stimulus money! (Just look for one of those huge green ARRA signs to identify funded projects. They're everywhere.)
  • Looking for things to do while you're here? How about hitting the casino for a little gambling? All you have to do is drive across the border. Massachusetts legislators failed to pass a casino bill before the end of the legislative session. Maybe next year.
  • Want some good news? We actually have a Republican US Senator from Massachusetts - Scott Brown. Unfortunately, Democrats control most other state and federal elected positions in Massachusetts. But, rest assured, we're working on it.
  • Flying home? Well, friendly TSA agents at Logan Airport have a goodbye pat waiting for you. It's not what you got the last time you flew out of Logan, and let's just say that it's not a pat on the back...

That should more or less bring you up to speed. Thanks for visiting Massachusetts, and we hope you'll come back real soon.

(Editors' note: Do you have an item to add to our list? Please post a comment below and let us know your suggestions!)


  1. you forgot to mention that our unemployment rate has dropped and that Massachusetts was named the #1 state for fostering innovative companies. The state is also leading the country in economic recovery, thanks to our democratic leadership.
    But far be it for me to point out that your glass is half full.

  2. Illegal Aliens: Come for the jobs, stay for the in-state tuition!

    Massachusetts: Democrat In Name Only

    The person passing you the gravy is probably related to a probation officer.

  3. Great post, but don't forget the teens. No talking while driving!

    Just to follow up to the comment regarding illegal immigrants, if they are here illegally, they do not qualify for instate tuition. Also, if they arrive illegally in search of a job and find one, the onus is on their employer. What we need, is a law that holds employers accountable when they employ and exploit illegal labor. For example, Olympic Painting and Roofing, the company that painted Mitt Romney's mansion in Belmont dodged a number of labor laws, or Michael Bianco Inc., the New Bedford based company that used illegal laborers to fulfill military contracts!

  4. And how about the local meals tax increases...I think it is not 7% in many communities who have voted the increase. Yep, some things have changed....and others are the same....we still have a Democratic state house, although the Republicans made some gains for the first time in a long time. No Republicans made it in state-wide offices this go-around. And yes, patronage is still very much alive and well...just check the Probation Dept.

  5. I meant "stay so your kids get in-state tuition."

  6. And did you see today's (11/30) Herald article by Margery Eagan on legislator pay.... "legislators got a 5.5 percent bump in pay last year. They got a raise of 4.8 percent in 2007, 4.1 percent in 2005, 6.5 percent in 2003 and 8 percent in 2001". All of this in the midst of a declining economy. Guess MA is the home of the best government wage increases as well. Look at the increases the legislature has voted themselves. Some said they would donate last years increase, but who can prove that they did? Robbery !! Time for the legislature to be part time...after all, they really do nothing but spend money. Could be the basis for a petition article.


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