With the start of the school year fast approaching, many parents are checking their bank accounts to see just how big a dent for new school clothes and supplies it can withstand.
Fortunately, again this year the Texas Legislature is offering a deal.
If you are reading this over a leisurely breakfast, you are already behind the game.
Starting in the wee hours today, in Texarkana and all across Texas, back-to-school shoppers can take advantage of the state's annual sales tax holiday weekend.
The savings continue through Sunday. The sales tax holiday is designed to give parents a break on back-to-school purchases. Specific items—including certain clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies—are exempt from sales tax for these three days. The savings add up to about $8 out of every $100 spent. While that might not sound like much to some, for many—especially those with large families—it can add up to a tidy sum.
And it's good for local businesses, too. Many retailers here in Texarkana are opening early and closing late in anticipation of the rush. The sales tax holiday adds some welcome profits to many stores' bottom lines this year. And that's good for our local economy.
For the past several years, many clothing items priced at less that $100 have been exempt from sales tax during the holiday. Some types of backpacks are free from tax as well.
School supplies exempt from sales tax include binders, book bags, calculators, cellophane tape, blackboard chalk, compasses, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue and paste, highlighters, index cards, legal pads, lunch boxes, markers, notebooks, various types of paper, pencils, pencil boxes and sharpeners, pens, protractors, rulers and scissors.
The annual Texas sales tax holiday weekend is a win for consumers and for businesses.
Last Week: Wind Energy or Hot Air?
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Friday poll will return next week.
The Texas Public Utilities Commission rejection of Southwestern Electric Power Co.'s plans to build a $4.5 billion wind farm in Oklahoma was recently announced. Do you agree with the Texas PUC that the benefits of the wind farm are questionable? Or do you think the decision was shortsighted and such a facility would provide long-term benefits to consumers?
I don't understand why the people of Texas should have to pay extra for electric service so that rich oil and gas executives can become even more obscenely wealthy.—J.M., New Boston, Texas
One figure I read estimates a 25 year savings of 1.7 billion to Texas ratepayers over 25 years in reduced fuel consumption. Of course this is also a reflection of what would not be paid to oil and gas interests. What I find "questionable" is Texas regulator's motivations in denying this "windfall" to it's consumers.—E.V., Texarkana, Ark.