House Democrats yesterday blocked a vote on a GOP budget amendment to roll back the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent over the next four years, while Republicans predicted Democrats will try to raise taxes next year.

State Rep. George N. Peterson Jr., R-Grafton, criticized the Democrats’ tactic of substituting an “amendment to study” for the tax rollback amendment, referring to it as an “inoculator” because it allows incumbents facing re-election to avoid casting a vote directly for or against a tax rollback.

Republican House members had proposed the rollback be phased in over four years, starting with a reduction from 6.25 to 5.8 percent on July 1, 2013, and to 5 percent on July 1, 2015.

House Revenue Committee Chairman Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington, objected to the proposal, saying such a major change in tax policy should be considered in a broader context of other taxes. He said study is needed to weigh the rollback in conjunction with possible changes of other taxes, including the income tax, before being put to a vote. His motion to study the proposal was adopted 119-37, mostly along party lines.

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