- Associated Press - Sunday, October 1, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - The plight of struggling brick-and-mortar retailers is the focus of a newly-formed study panel on Beacon Hill.

The Senate Task Force on Strengthening Massachusetts Local Retailers holds its first meeting at the Statehouse on Monday. The panel has been asked to examine the challenges faced by retailers as more shopping moves online. It will also look at how retail store closures are affecting local communities.

The 13-member panel includes members of the Senate and retailers from around the state. It’s been directed to report its findings by June 1.

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts isn’t waiting for that report, however. The group is pushing ahead with a proposed 2018 ballot question that would reduce the 6.25 percent sales tax to 5 percent and require an annual sales tax holiday.

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