Get ready shoppers! If all goes according to plan, the Missouri Legislature is about to approve a three-day tax-free shopping holiday for Missouri back-to-school shoppers. The move may not be as important as balancing the state budget but it will be a welcome addition for parents when school time rolls around in August.
Under a measure approved by the Senate this week, a tax holiday would run from Aug. 8-10 when most state and local sales taxes would be dropped from traditional school items. It may not add up to a giant bonanza for shoppers but it certainly won't hurt.
The bill is expected to save Missourians $5 million in sales tax over the three-day tax holiday. But the impact will be small for the budget and no essential services will be reduced because of the sales tax freeze.
Now don't expect all of your purchases to be tax free. Non-school items will still be subject to all sales taxes but clothing will be exempt up to $100 and other school supplies up to $50. Computers costing as much as $2,000 will also be exempt from the local and state sales taxes. The savings to your pocketbook may only be a few dollars but for families struggling to prepare kids for school, every dollar counts. That applies to all Missourians.
Supporters of the measure believe that in some border communities, out-of-state shoppers may take advantage of the tax holiday. I doubt that will generate much revenue for the retail community but it's a step in the right direction.
I complain constantly and consistently about the shortcomings of the state legislature. It seems that more often than not, the crew in Jefferson City doesn't seem to understand the needs of most Missourians. On this idea however, the Legislature got it right.
So shoppers be alert. And plan accordingly.