House Democrats today announced Ohio’s back-to-school sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 3-5, as a result of the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 226. The annual event helps lessen the sting of the 4.5 percent statewide sales tax hike passed by Republican lawmakers in the 2013 state budget. The hike has cost taxpayers almost $2 billion more since then, according to state revenue numbers.
The sales tax holiday was first introduced in 2015 and, according to an analysis conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Economic Center, saved consumers over $3 million on almost $47 million worth of back-to-school purchases.
SB 226, which passed earlier this year, declares the annual tax-free weekend for back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials a permanent holiday and will recur each year during the first weekend in August.
Qualifying items include clothing priced at $75 or less per article and school supplies and instructional material priced at $20 or less per item.
Here is what House Democratic lawmakers are saying about the sales tax-free holiday:
“I am proud to support SB 226, which passed 93-3 in the House, to provide a small relief to families across Ohio,” said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown). “Additionally, this legislation can boost our economy by keeping Ohio dollars local instead of being spent across the state line. SB 226 is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to supporting future legislation like this that benefits both families and businesses.”
“With so many Ohio families struggling to make ends meet already, the tax free holiday alleviates a bit of the financial burden that comes with back to school shopping,” said Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron). “To be successful during the school year students and their families not only need to purchase class specific items, but also replace everyday use items. While a family may save a relatively small amount this weekend, those dollars add up so a student can have lunch money or be able to replace something later in the school year. Every little bit helps.”
“It was my privilege to sponsor House Bill 89— the companion bill to SB 226. I didn't mind which legislative version was adopted, just so our families have more piece of mind to find school items at a lower cost, year after year,” said Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson). “I was happy to support SB 226 because it will also help strengthen our communities as individuals shop locally to take advantage of the decreased sales tax.”
“This program is a great cost saving measure for parents and caregivers in Trumbull County, providing a much needed opportunity to save on important school supplies that are vital to their children’s education,” said Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Warren).
“Feedback on this initiative indicates that the public applauds the opportunity to buy school clothes and supply items for the new school year during this tax free holiday,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “While it only provides a small savings, hard-working families appreciate every break they can get.”
“I was supportive of SB 226 when it came before the Ohio House of Representatives, because it will help strengthen our communities by ensuring that families are able to purchase necessary school items for their children at a lower cost,” said Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “As both a mother and a former educator, I truly understand the importance of this bill for families all across the state of Ohio.”
“This annual holiday gives families a well-earned break on back to school items, year after year,” said Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). “People work hard to provide for their children, and paying hiked up prices for school essentials isn’t something people should have to worry about.”
“This tax holiday helps working families find necessary school items at a lower cost,” said Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus). “Most of the tax cuts enacted by this Republican legislature favor the wealthy— here is one tax cut that benefits everybody”
“This weekend’s tax holiday adds buying power to those families intending to purchase items needed for the upcoming school year,” said Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake). “While I voted against the two increases in sales taxes during my tenure, I was happy to support SB 226 because it made permanent the ability take advantage of a decreased sales tax. Just as important, it strengthens our communities when people shop locally.”
“I am thrilled that families in my district and throughout Ohio will be able to experience a regular sales tax holiday provided in Senate Bill 226,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The tax free holiday provides some much needed relief for Ohio’s families who prepare their children for school each year, or those looking for a tax break while shopping this weekend.”
“This annual tax holiday ensures there is more piece of mind to find school items at a lower cost, year after year,” said Rep. Catherine Ingram (D-Cincinnati). “It is important to make sure that going back to school is not financially detrimental for our families. I was happy to support SB 226 because it will help strengthen our communities as our families shop locally to take advantage of the decreased sales tax.”
“This annual holiday ensures families have more piece of mind to find school items at a lower cost, year after year,” said Rep. Nick Celebrezze (D-Parma). “As a father of two young children I was happy to support SB 226 because it will not only help our local businesses, but it will also help families purchase quality products at a lower cost for their children. My wife and I, like thousands of Ohioans, will be taking full advantage of it this weekend.”
“This annual tax holiday ensures families can prepare for the new school year with a little less stress, year after year,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent). “I voted “yes” on SB 226 this spring because I know middle class and working class Ohioans struggle to make ends meet and have been bearing a larger share of the overall tax burden in recent years. This relief will help Ohio families, boost local businesses, and strengthen our communities.”