Residents of Tennessee who want — need — to save money on back-to-school expenses might consider postponing shopping for a week. The savings could be considerable for parents and others who buy selected clothing, school supplies and computers during the states’ special sales-tax holidays in August.
Tennessee will observe its holiday Aug. 3-5, which allows consumers to purchase the exempt items — within clearly stated and reasonable limits — without paying sales tax. The tax holidays are welcome.
Families with kids in school — particularly those with youngsters who seem to outgrow clothing every other week and who go through mountains of school supplies — can save considerable sums. That’s especially true in Tennessee, a state without an income tax and where aggregate sales tax in some jurisdictions is nearly 10 percent. At a time when family budgets are under economic strain from rising food and other costs, the opportunity to save can be a godsend.
Parents aren’t the only ones who benefit from the sales tax moratorium. The savings are not limited to those with school-age offspring. The tax exemption is available to all shoppers who purchase qualified items during the states’ holidays. Retailers obviously benefit, too. They’ve got to be happy that the tax holiday will bring customers through their doors and, more likely than not, increase overall spending by consumers. Welcome as a tax holiday is, it helps consumers only a couple of days during the year. Every other day, shoppers must pay sales tax. That is especially burdensome in Tennessee, which relies on sales tax to fund state expenditures. It requires Tennesseans of modest means to spend a disproportionate share of their earnings on sales taxes rather than necessities. The holiday saves them a bit of money, but not enough. They need more relief.
Such help will arrive only when Tennessee’s legislators address long-term reform. Until that time comes, state residents will have to be satisfied with the small gift of savings that the sales-tax holiday provides.
—Chattanooga Times Free Press