Eye on Education

Ohio Lawmaker Explores Sales Tax-Free Holiday For Back To School Shopping

dollar bill cut in half

Images_of_Money / Flickr

School’s not quite yet started, but many parents at least are doing their math in figuring out costs for their kid’s supplies–and one state senator says his bill will relieve some of their financial burden.

The National Retail Federation says on average, parents of kids in grades K through 12 will spend $670 on school supplies this year.  That includes clothes, shoes, and electronics.

Apply Ohio’s state sales tax and that’s roughly 40 bucks more on the tab.

State Senator Kevin Bacon of Ohio’s Third District says he’s got a bill pending before the General Assembly, that’ll be reviewed when the legislature reconvenes in November.  It’ll create a sales-tax free holiday for back to school shopping.  Bacon says he’s worked with both the Governor and retailers in crafting the bill, that’ll boost Ohio commerce.

“It creates kind of a ‘Black Friday’ like excitement where the retailers go out and advertise the sales tax holiday,” says Bacon. “Most of them will give sales on top of that to create more excitement.  So if you want to go and take advantage of some real good deals you can, but some people will buy other things, too.”

Bacon says the sales tax free holiday would apply to school supplies and materials up to $20 per item, and clothes up to $75 per item.  Calculators are covered, though computers aren’t in the bill’s current language.

If passed and signed into law, the sales tax free holiday would happen on a pilot basis the first weekend of August 2015.

Currently, neighboring states like Indiana and Kentucky have sales tax holidays for back to school shopping.


  • FairBudgets

    State sacrifices much needed revenue to help businesses with advertising.

    Academic research of these show:

    1. It will not increase economic activity
    2. It will place a larger burden in calculating eligible and uneligible items on small businesses (big retailers can more easily adjust their computer systems).
    3. lt doesn’t help low income people who have less flexibility in shopping times than wealthier families do.

    I would rather this sales tax money be invested in hiring a few more teachers in Ohio than helping Target and Wal-Mart with a new marketing campaign.

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