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House Dems look to renew "back-to-school" sales tax holiday

Say tax-free shopping weekend will help families save hard-earned dollars
February 23, 2017
Democratic Newsroom

State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) today announced the introduction of House Bill 89, bipartisan legislation to establish a three-day sales tax “holiday” during the first weekend of August for “back-to-school” clothing and school supplies. If enacted, HB 89 would establish the sales tax holiday for the third consecutive year. 

“Over the last two years, we have helped Ohio families save significant amounts of money when they do their back-to-school shopping,” said Patterson. “In my district, families know they can simply cross the border into Pennsylvania to buy back-to-school clothes tax-free. Since we established the first tax holiday in 2015, we have seen a great number of families instead supporting their local businesses.” 

Not only will the holiday help offset Ohio’s 4.5 percent sales tax increase enacted by the 2013 state budget, but for three days shoppers will pay no sales tax on itemized purchases as they prepare their children for the coming of the new school year. Under the lawmakers’ proposal, qualifying products include items of clothing that are $75 or less, school supplies that are $20 or less, and school instructional materials that are $20 or less. 

Ohio families saved $3.3 million during the state’s first temporary sales tax holiday in August 2015, while generating $4.7 million in sales tax revenue. 

“The sales tax holiday is a great opportunity to help Ohio families as they prepare for the new school year, and for members of our communities to support local workers and local businesses,” said Kelly. “By saving families money, we can encourage Ohioans to spend their hard-earned dollars in their own backyard instead of crossing over the border into a neighboring state.” 

Companion legislation in the Senate was approved earlier this week by a 32-1 vote. Ohio would be one of 18 states to offer a back-to-school sales tax holiday.