I am proposing that the Legislature expand the Sales Tax Holiday from three days to five days and add to the list of tax-exempt items safety equipment, school supplies and materials used to make kiddo's clothes.
My Plan will save Texas taxpayers an additional $46 million over the next three years.
10 Principles for Texas
in the 21st Century
Develop a better-educated workforce
Direct more of every education dollar into the classroom
Raise the bar on student performance
Cut taxes in Texas
Introduce competition into Texas government
Improve government performance and accountability
Reduce the size of government
Bring common sense to regulations
Use technology to cut costs and increase quality
Return control to communities and individuals
The Sales Tax Holiday is a tremendous help to hard-working Texas families, and by expanding it from three to five days and adding these items, the holiday will be less of a traffic jam and save Texans more of their hard-earned dollars.
Items that people all across this state want added to the tax-free list are buttons, zippers and fabric for mammas who make clothes at home; school supplies including backpacks; and safety equipment such as bicycle helmets, elbow and knee pads and baby and children's car seats.
I want to make the Sales Tax Holiday as beneficial to Texas families as possible. The tax burden on working families is too high and the Sales Tax Holiday provides everyone with much-needed relief.
The Legislature first approved an annual Sales Tax Holiday in 1999. It falls on the first weekend in August of each year, the time when most people are beginning back-to-school shopping. Items under $100 are tax-exempt.
During the first two holidays, taxpayers saved $32.6 million in 1999 and $37 million in 2000.
Beginning last year, local taxing entities were able to opt out of the Sales Tax Holiday if they first notified my office. Only Sunset Valley, a small community southwest of Austin, chose not to waive its local sales tax.
I hope that the Legislature gives Texans this much-deserved expansion of the Sales Tax Holiday. As one newspaper editorial pointed out, $8 savings on $100 may not sound like much to some people, but that $8 is more than a lot of Texans make in an hour.
For more information on the Sales Tax Holiday and a list of exempt and non-exempt items, see the Comptroller's office Web site at www.window.state.tx.us or call the technical assistance hotline at 800-252-5555.
During this Legislative session, lawmakers have a lot of tough choices to make. Expanding the Sales Tax Holiday is not one of them. It's just good old common sense to give hard-working families this break.
CAROLE KEETON RYLANDER