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Tax holiday on!

Local governments won’t benefit from the sales tax holiday that begins today, but government officials are still encouraging residents to shop at home.

The Alabama Retail Association reported that the average family with school-aged children in the South will spend $615.97 on back-to-school items – a $111 increase from last year.

Florala mayor Robert Williamson described the benefits of the event as “multiple.”

“It results in savings to the consumer, and it potentially promotes additional spending with money saved on purchases, which benefits the retail merchant,” Williamson said.

“Plus, hopefully, the publicity generated by the sales tax holiday results in additional shoppers.

“Shopping at home is vital to a municipality’s finances, directly relating to the maintenance and replacement of infrastructure,” he said.

“We encourage all residents to look for that product in-town first.”

Mayor H.D. Edgar reminded his residents there are shopping opportunities available in Opp.

“Let’s remember to keep our money here in Opp, Edgar said. “All school supplies are available at our merchants.”

In a press release, Gov. Bob Riley echoed both Williamson’s and Edgar’s opinion.

“This weekend provides a unique opportunity for stores to boost sales and for families to save money,” Riley said.

“In previous years, Alabama consumers saved more than $6 million in sales tax in just one weekend. That’s $6 million put back into the pockets of parents who need that money now more than ever.”

Starting today and ending on Sunday at midnight, the three-day period will mark the fifth year that state and local governments have participated in the annual sales tax holiday, where sales tax is waived on the following types of purchases:

• clothing and shoes priced at $100 or less;

• computers with a selling price of $750 or less, plus certain computer equipment and software;

• books that cost $30 or less; textbooks that cost $50 or less; and

• school supplies valued at $50 or less;

KeKe Jones shows her mother, Peggy Craig, a shirt she’d like to buy. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News