Friday, August 3, 2007

A Great Weekend for Oklahoma Families

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody! After a long wait, Oklahomans this weekend finally get to take advantage of a “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, August 3 and running through midnight, Sunday August 5, Oklahomans will be able to buy clothing and footwear with a purchase price of under $100 tax free. Every eligible item with an individual purchase price of less than $100 will be tax free.

For us in southern Oklahoma, we watched our neighbors in Texas enjoy such a sales tax holiday for a decade now. Many Oklahomans crossed the border to take advantage of the holiday. Who could blame them?

With Oklahoma’s first sales tax holiday, many communities are going all out to make the most of it. Retailers and chambers of commerce across the state are having special promotions to capitalize on this historic event.

The amazingly positive response from individuals and communities to the sales tax holiday is great news for our state, and a harsh blow to those who fought against the sales tax holiday. The Oklahoma Municipal League along with some city bureaucrats and big city mayors opposed the sales tax holiday. After years of work, we were able to overcome their opposition.

Also, our friends in Texas made a terrible tactical error with their sales tax holiday. The Texas Legislature moved the Texas sales tax holiday back two weeks to the middle of August. Oklahoma has the first weekend in August all to itself, hopefully attracting Texas shoppers to our state and reversing the flow of economic strength the first weekend in August.

During my two years as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I was proud to have sponsored the two largest tax cuts in Oklahoma’s history. I am even more proud of the “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday.

Now, we all can stay in our hometowns, keeping our economic strength in Oklahoma, and still enjoy the benefit of a tax cut we can see at the cash register. For families struggling to make ends meet, this is a tax cut that will benefit them the most because sales taxes hit working families the hardest.

As percentage of income, working families pay much more of their hard-earned money to cover sales taxes than do the wealthiest among us. By eliminating the sales tax on clothing and footwear this weekend, we help make the playing field more level, reducing the burden on those who deserve and need it the most.

This will be a great weekend for Oklahoma families and Oklahoma retailers. I am proud to be a part of making the first “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday a reality. For as long as I serve as your senator, I will work hard to find ways to improve our quality of life, and the “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday will make our state stronger and an even better place for families.

Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” have a great week, and may God bless you all.

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