Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Media Use Only
August 22, 2007
Contact: Kenneth Besserman

Senator Ellis Joins Comptroller Combs and Texas Retailers Associations to Call for Expanded Sales Tax Holiday to Help Texans Save More

(AUSTIN) -- Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis, joined by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and representatives from the Texas Retailers Association, announced today the need for Texas to expand the sales tax holiday and provide much needed savings on back-to-school items.

"I will do everything possible to give working families even more tax relief," Ellis said. "Therefore, I plan to file legislation to raise the maximum price per item from $100 to $150 and expand the list of sales tax-free items to include practical school supplies such as pencils, pens, crayons and paper. Texas has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, and an expanded sales tax holiday would mean real relief for many deserving Texans."

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs estimates the sales tax holiday has saved Texans $52.1 million in state and local sales taxes this year. The holiday has produced overall savings of approximately $388.1 million since it began.

"We often hear from parents about the need to include school supplies in the sales tax holiday," Combs said. "Adding school supplies and increasing the tax exempt price threshold to $150 is good public policy for Texas. This will keep more money in Texas familiesí pockets as they shop for back-to-school items. Consumers throughout Texas could save an extra $13.6 million in state sales tax and $3.8 million in local sales tax in 2009."

In 1999, Senator Ellis passed Senate Bill 441, a $506 million tax relief package that created the three-day sales tax holiday, which eliminated the sales tax on over-the-counter medicines and cut business taxes. The sales tax holiday is designed to give hard-working Texans a sales tax break on back-to-school items such as clothing, shoes and backpacks priced under $100.

This year, Senator Ellis helped pass legislation to include backpacks among the tax-free items and move the sales tax holiday to the third weekend in August in order to move it closer to the school start date and allow more families to take advantage of the holiday.

"I want to thank Comptroller Combs for her support of this new and improved sales tax holiday weekend," said Senator Ellis. "I am proud to have authored the sales tax holiday bill in 1999, and I look forward to working during the interim session with the Comptroller and other state leaders in order to give so many Texas families a much needed break."