Chris Doughty Campaign Mailer Falsely Claims Geoff Diehl Opposes Sales Tax Reduction 

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If you got a piece of mail from Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty lately, chances are it contained false information about his primary opponent.

The Wrentham businessman is primarying former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman). At the end of last week, the Doughty campaign sent out mailers across the state that falsely claim about Diehl that “he doesn’t support rolling back the sales tax” — implying that Diehl supports maintaining the 6.25 percent sales tax Massachusetts currently has.

That’s false. 

Both Diehl and Doughty support cutting the state’s sale tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent. 

Amanda Orlando, Diehl’s campaign manager, condemned the mailer as dirty politics designed to help Democrat Maura Healey win the general election.

“This claim is another in a long line of lies from the Doughty campaign,” Orlando told NewBostonPost in an email message. “Geoff’s record on protecting taxpayers and fighting for them is unmatched. He has time and time again stood up, even against his own party, to push back on tax increases and to fight for tax cuts. It’s unfortunate that the Doughty campaign is so desperate to help Maura Healey that it would resort to lies to tarnish Geoff.”

Doughty’s campaign manager Holly Robichaud, when asked by NewBostonPost about the Doughty campaign mailing, didn’t defend its accuracy on the sales tax point. Instead, she said Doughty is more vocal on the sales tax issue than Diehl. 

“Chris is the only candidate who has been calling for a rolling back of the sales tax and the only candidate who can be trusted on taxes,” Robichaud wrote in an email message to NewBostonPost.

Diehl told NewBostonPost in an interview at his Plymouth office on July 21, 2022, that he supports reducing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent.

“I’d like to see us be a more competitive state with our neighboring states and give our businesses a shot in the arm because we had 50,000 people leave Massachusetts last year,” Diehl said in the interview 46 days ago. “A lot of those people were employees or job creators because they just feel like the state has just gotten so expensive. If we can reduce the expense to the consumer by lowering our sales tax to five percent, I think that sends a strong signal that Massachusetts wants you to come here, stay here, and make this your long-term, future investment for a home or a company.”

“I think that it’s clear that we’re overtaxing people and the sales tax is a clear example of something we can do for people in this state,” he added. 

Diehl also supported a signature-gathering effort in 2017 that would have put a question on the November 2018 general election ballot asking voters if they wanted to reduce the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent and if they wanted to make the sales tax weekend permanent. 

“It’a an effort to make sure that taxes go back down to help people keep more money in their wallets,” Diehl said in September 2017, according to CBS Boston

The measure got enough signatures to make the ballot, but the Massachusetts legislature killed the initiative by passing the so-called Grand Bargain in June 2018. That legislation made the sales tax holiday permanent while enacting paid family and medical leave and gradually raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour — two measures which also would have also been on the November 2018 ballot. However, the bill left out reducing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent. Governor Charlie Baker signed the bill into law. 

And for Diehl, cutting the sales tax has been a policy priority dating back to his first run for state representative in 2010. 

“Throughout the years that I have worked in the sign industry, I’ve met hundreds of business owners, and one of my goals is to help connect people from my district, who have certain skills or interests, with companies that may be looking to hire,” Diehl told The Brockton Enterprise in an October 27, 2010 interview. “I (also) (will) fight to reduce the state sales tax in order to create a better business climate so that companies can grow and provide our state with much-needed jobs.”

The first state sales tax in Massachusetts took effect in April 1966. It was 3 percent. The sales tax increased to 5 percent in November 1975.

Diehl’s first run for state representative came in 2010, one year after then-Governor Deval Patrick signed a budget bill into law that increased the state’s sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent (with a 0.75 percent local-option meals tax if individual cities and towns adopt it). Since then, many Republican candidates have included sales tax reduction as a part of their campaign platforms — including then-candidate Charlie Baker in 2010.

The primary between Diehl and Doughty is Tuesday, September 6. The winner will face the presumptive Democratic nominee, incumbent attorney general Maura Healey, in the November general election. 

A picture of the mailer containing the false information is available below:


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