The overall positive results of last year’s sales tax holiday weekend in Ohio led the state legislature to look into enacting another one this year. Last week, the Ohio House passed Senate Bill 264, which would again make back-to-school purchases exempt from state and county sales tax for the first weekend of Aug. (5–7).
Now, the bill simply awaits the governor’s signature.
Discussions will be ongoing about whether to make a sales tax holiday weekend a permanent event in Ohio. Prior to making it permanent, however, we want to gather more data about its full effects on both consumers and retailers. Based on last year’s numbers, the idea looks like a resounding success.
A study by the University of Cincinnati’s Economic Center found that sales over that weekend in 2015 were nearly 6.5 percent higher than expected, which led to $4.7 million in additional revenue for the state. There was also an uptick in sales near the borders, as it is likely that it may have drawn some people from neighboring states who spent their money here in Ohio.
More importantly, I believe the policy provides relief for families who face the sometimes steep burden of shopping for school supplies. Even a slight reduction in costs can add up to significant savings. The same goes for retailers, which benefit from having more customers walk into their stores.
It is important to note that, although the idea of the sales tax holiday is geared toward school shopping, every Ohioan can benefit. Like last year, the sales tax exemption applies for clothing that costs up to $75 per item and school supplies up to $20 per item.
I was again proud to support this policy because I believe it is a positive economic development idea that helps families and businesses. While it is still a few months away, I encourage Ohioans to mark Aug. 5-7 on their calendars so they remember to get out and take advantage of lower-cost shopping.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.