As schools across the state resume classes this month, many parents are feeling their budgets buckle under the need for new clothes and shoes for their children, but they may get a break on such expenses next fall if a bill authored by Senator Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo is passed in the next legislative session.
Following the example set by Texas earlier this month to designate an annual tax-free holiday, Oklahomans could save more money on selected items if the legislation gets a stamp of approval. The proposal provides tax relief for items up to $100 beginning on the first Friday in August, through the weekend until midnight on Sunday.
"Many Oklahomans recently traveled to Texas to take advantage of the tax-free holiday, and those are dollars lost in our state's economy," said Senator Rabon. "By implementing our own version of this break for taxpayers, we can keep the money generated by this weekend event to benefit the economy in our own state, instead of giving it away to neighboring states."
Although the tax break is aimed at clothing and shoes, there are a few things that would not be eligible for the sales tax waiver. Accessories like jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets and watches, as well as any special clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use would be taxed at the regular rate.
"Oklahomans work hard to make their dollars stretch as far as possible and this legislation is designed to give those dollars the most power possible," said Senator Rabon. "By creating a tax-free holiday for purchases like clothes and shoes, those dollars are going to stretch even further than before."
Senator Rabon and members of legislative staff are still waiting to see how the number crunching from the state Tax Commission will affect the state, but the Senator is determined to examine all angles of this program to explore the options.
"While we don't have all the answers right now, this program appears to have the potential to significantly impact the economy of our state," said Senator Rabon. "After we get the numbers from the Tax Commission, we will have a better grasp on the effects, either positive or negative, of this program and we can proceed from there with our legislation efforts."