Texas Tax Holiday Lures Shoppers

8-5-05 – On your mark, get set, shop! Today is the start of the tax-free shopping weekend across Texas. Retailers expect to draw crowds from south—and north—of the Red River.

The tax-free holiday coincides with back-to-school each year. It’s a chance to give shoppers a break from the 8.25% paid in state and local sales tax. While critics argue that it away money on the state level, proponents say it boosts local economies, and gives parents a break on shopping for the kids.

“It's the best time to buy the school supplies and school clothes, and cheapest way to buy them,” says Billie Langston, on her way into Wal-Mart to shop for her three children.

The holiday savings do add up for some families, but it’s important to know that not all back-to-school goods are tax-free this Friday through Sunday. The break generally applies to every-day school and work clothes, and shoes. Athletic gear, purses, and backpacks—not to mention school supplies—will still be taxed, as will items costing over $100.

Oklahoma does not have a statewide tax-free shopping weekend, but stores in Durant and Ardmore declared their own tax-free holiday for customers, and they’re applying the discounts to all merchandise. It’s an effort to keep shoppers from making the short drive south into Texas.

Clothing, coats, pajamas, hosiery, certain shoes, socks, underwear, adult and baby diapers, work uniforms, gym suits, ties.

Backpacks, school supplies, football helmets and pads, hair barrettes, sewing cloth, purses, jewelry.

Items under 100 dollars each; no limit on number of items purchased.

About eight dollars per 100 spent.

Projected at about $47.4 million for all consumers in state and local sales taxes.

--- Source: Texas Comptroller's Office