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With August right around the corner, a lot of parents are thinking about back-to-school shopping for their kids. For lower-income families, however, it can be difficult or impossible to afford everything their students need to succeed. In sixteen states, they are taking steps to make it a little easier on families.
When shopping for new clothing, supplies, and electronics, the sales tax can be an extra burden that families simply can’t afford. That’s why, in these states, consumers are offered a few days of tax-free shopping on back-to-school essentials every August. This is a great idea. Not only can it be the difference between a lower-income child getting the supplies they need and going to school unprepared, but it also means that consumers will spend more overall. That makes this a win-win situation; kids get the supplies that they need, and the local economy gets a boost.
While it is helpful to lower-income families to have a weekend tax break, one wonders why legislators can’t extrapolate on this. If a tax break for certain items for a weekend means that people can afford what they need while boosting the economy, wouldn’t permanently lower tax rates be even better? It’s great to be able to get kids off to school well-prepared, but we should be championing policies that free up more private money for the economy every day.