A New Ohio Holiday - Without Taxes!
A Guest Column by Senator Scott Oelslager

The back-to-school shopping season is a busy time for all parents and one that may leave you with empty pockets. However, we’ve been working in the Senate on a plan that may soon provide you with some financial relief!

Last month, my colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 243, which would establish a recurring three-day weekend each August in which certain retail items would be exempt from sales and use taxes. In other states, this type of weekend has become commonly known as a “sales tax holiday.”

During this annual shopping spree weekend, Ohio’s 5.75 percent sales tax would not apply to common back-to-school items such as pencils, pens, binders, and lunch boxes. Also exempt would be clothing items such as denim, sweaters, and jackets priced at $100 or less and electronics like laptops, and electronic book readers, among others that are priced at $1,000 or less.

Sales tax holidays are not a new or unexplored concept in the United States. According to the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati, 18 states held a sales tax holiday of some sort during 2012.

A state “Sales Tax Holiday” would bring outstanding benefits to Ohio individuals and families during the back-to-school season, saving Ohio families up to $78 million in just one weekend. It also has the potential to stir a great amount of economic activity in our local communities by creating a black Friday-like excitement. In fact, the University of Cincinnati’s study predicts Ohio retail sales volume would increase by approximately 4.8 percent during the month of August should the sales tax holiday be implemented.

Now passed by the Senate, Senate Bill 243 is now in the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

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