Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
August 2, 2005
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113
Cheryl Vanek, (512)463-0101

Senator Ellis Encourages Texans to Take Advantage of Sales Tax Holiday
7th Annual Sales Tax Holiday Offers Texans Chance to Save on Necessities

(Austin)// Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston today reminded Texans to take advantage of the annual Sales Tax Holiday next weekend -- August 5-7. Since the creation of the sales tax holiday, Texans have saved nearly $240 million.

"Texans are feeling the pinch of higher gas prices and rising inflation," said Ellis. "The sales tax holiday means real tax relief to Texas families," said Ellis. AHigher sales taxes are not the answer to Texas' problems. Instead of raising sales taxes, we should be extending the Sales Tax Holiday and extending it to cover more items. If legislators in Austin are going to raise sales taxes then we should give Texans more opportunities to save during the Sales Tax Holiday."

In 1999, Senator Ellis passed SB 441, $506 million tax relief legislation which created the 3-day sales tax holiday, eliminated altogether the sales tax on over-the-counter medicines and cut some business taxes. The tax holiday is designed to give hard-working Texans a tax break on necessities such as back-to-school clothing. Shoes and clothing less than $100 per item are exempt from the sales tax.

At 8.25 percent, Texas already has one of the highest combined sales tax rates in the United States. According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, Texas has the third most regressive tax system in the nation. High sales taxes hit low income and elderly Texans the hardest, forcing our poorest citizens to pay up to six times more of their income in sales taxes than more affluent Texans. The Sales Tax Holiday helps Texans buy socks, shoes, jeans, shirts, skirts, sweaters and other staples tax-free (a full listing of tax-free items follows).

"Just in time for back-to-school, hard-working Texans get a much needed break," said Ellis. AThe sales tax holiday allows families with school-age children to better afford the necessities. At a time when the legislature is talking about significantly raising the sales tax, it is more important than ever for Texans to stretch the family budget. The sales tax holiday will help Texans keep more money in their pocket when buying the necessities."

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Click here to download the "Tax-free items" list in Adobe Acrobat format.

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