Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
August 5, 2004
Contact: Brandon Dudley, 713-236-0306

Texas Gears Up for Sixth Annual Sales Tax Holiday

Houston// -- Senator Rodney Ellis and other state and local elected officials partnered with Academy Sports and Outdoors to officially open the Sixth Annual Texas Sales Tax Holiday. This year's holiday begins at 12:01am on Friday, August 6th, and will conclude at midnight on Sunday August 8th.

Senator Ellis authored SB 441, which created the three-day sales tax holiday. The law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes and saves shoppers about $8 on about every $100 dollars they spend. The tax holiday has saved the people of Texas approximately $193.5 million since it began in 1999 and is estimated to save taxpayers another $46.1 million this year.

"I authored SB 441 because I believed that it was the right thing to do. The holiday gives hard-working Texas families a well-deserved break. Just in time for back to school shopping, the sales tax holiday gives families the opportunity to save money on things that they need and keep some money in their pockets."

State Representative Garnett Coleman added, "Whether it's back to school shopping, a new pair of shoes, or any other need, the sales tax holiday is a winner for Texas families. I encourage all of my constituents to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity."

State Representative Scott Hochberg added, "The number of families who take advantage of the holiday tells me how much impact sales taxes have our on budgets. That's why I proposed expanding this holiday to two weekends, and it's why we should definitely not be talking about increasing our sales tax rate, which is already one of the highest in the country."

Texas' sales tax, when combined with local sales taxes, is among the highest and most regressive in the nation. High sales taxes hit low income and elderly Texans the hardest, forcing the poorest Texans to pay up to six times more of their income in sales taxes than more affluent Texans.

"Sales tax relief will help all Texans, but particularly those that need it the most. Too many hard-working Texas families are struggling to make ends meet. This holiday will to ease that burden. Sales taxes are the most regressive taxes we have. They take the most from Texans that can least afford them; hitting low income and elderly Texans the hardest." Ginny Goldman of ACORN echoed Ellis's point saying, "working class families and low-income parents are looking forward to the opportunity to save some money on much needed items. When you're counting every penny, every penny counts."

Casey Ramm, vice president of marketing for Academy Sports and Outdoors added, "As a local, Texas-owned retailer, we've seen first-hand how important the savings from Sales Tax Holiday can be to families who are overburdened with expenses this time of year. At Academy Sports and Outdoors, we're glad to support the efforts of Senator Ellis and our other elected officials who've helped ease the financial strain of back-to-school for many Houstonians."

Ellis also stated that he would like to see the time and the number of items covered by the holiday expanded. "I intend to introduce legislation that will extend and broaden the sales tax holiday. We need to extend the holiday to five days instead of three. That way the people of our state can get a full opportunity to take advantage of the savings available. And during this back to school season, items such as school supplies, backpacks, and safety equipment should also bee exempt from sales taxes."