By Bob Katzen
The Senate 31-6, approved an amendment allowing consumers to buy most products that cost under $2,500 on Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 without paying the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax.
Supporters of the bill said the holiday, which has been in effect for many years, would boost retail sales and noted that consumers would save millions of dollars. They argued that the state’s sales tax revenue loss would be offset by increased revenue from the meals and gas tax revenue generated by shoppers on those two days.
Some opponents of the bill said the state cannot afford the up to $30 million estimated revenue loss and argued the holiday actually generates little additional revenue for stores because consumers typically buy the products even without the tax-free days. They said that the Legislature should be looking at broader, deeper tax relief for individuals and businesses and not a tiny tax-free holiday. Others said that legislators should not vote for this tax holiday when they have not yet restored all the local aid, education and other important program cuts made over the past few years.