Sales tax holiday good for consumers and economy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Alabamians will enjoy their first sales tax holiday this weekend,

Aug. 4, 5, and 6. During those three days, shoppers will pay no state sales tax on certain purchases and no local sales taxes in cities and counties that have joined the state in offering this tax-free weekend.

The Luverne City Council voted in favor of the sales tax holiday, while the Crenshaw County Commission voted against it. This means that shoppers will not have to pay city taxes in the city of Luverne on certain items, but they will still have to pay county taxes.

Although the tax holiday is designed to primarily focus on back-to-school shopping, a number of items will be free of the state sales tax. These include clothing with a price of $100 or less per item; computers, software and computer supplies with a price of $750 or less per item; school supplies and textbooks with a price of $50 or less per item; and other books with a price of $30 or less per item.

Also, there is no limit to the number of items that may be purchased tax-free as long as the purchase price of each of those items is below the amounts provided in the law.

This tax relief will save Alabamians an estimated $6 million this year.

Gov. Riley called for instituting the sales tax holiday during his State of the State Address in Jan. It received enthusiastic and bipartisan support and was sponsored by Republican Rep. Mac Gipson and Democratic Sen. Zeb Little.

Not only does the sales tax holiday offer citizens tax relief, it also helps to boost our economy. Retailers are expecting to see a lot of customers walk through their doors this weekend. Based on the experiences of other states that have enacted similar sales tax holidays, many retailers could see double-digit increases from previous year sales. In fact, some stores are opening earlier and staying open later to accommodate the expected influx in customers.

Consumers and retailers should be excited about Alabama's first-ever sales tax holiday. It will help consumers to stretch their dollars further, and it will give a boost to Alabama's economy.