Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2011
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis and Hernandez Luna Kick-Off the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

(Houston, Texas)—Senator Rodney Ellis was joined by Representative Ana Hernandez Luna at Macy's in downtown Houston to kick-off the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, which runs August 19-21. The state officials were also joined by Regina Garcia, Vice President and Store manager of Macy's Downtown and students from Aspire Special Needs Centre and JOY Ministries.

"The sales tax holiday helps Texas parents stretch their dollars and better afford the clothing and school supplies they need to get their children ready for school," said Ellis. "In these uncertain economic times, the money they save from the tax holiday could mean a free pair of khakis or blue jeans, a free skirt or just more money in their pockets."

In 1999, Senator Ellis passed Senate Bill 441, a $506 million tax relief package which created the 3-day sales tax holiday, eliminated the sales tax on over-the-counter medicines and cut business taxes. The tax holiday is designed to give hard-working Texans a tax break on necessities such as back-to-school clothing. Since the annual August tax-free shopping began in 1999, shoppers have saved around $564.8 million on vital back-to-school items.

"With the ever growing economical challenges facing our hard working families, particularly after an unprecedented legislative session whose impact will hit these families the hardest, the sales tax holiday weekend is greatly welcomed. Texans deserve to send their children to school fully prepared to gain the educational experience they all deserve and thanks to Senator Rodney Ellis, they can to do so without suffering financially, "said Representative Hernandez Luna."I look forward to working with Senator Ellis and others to continue fighting for opportunities to provide tax relief to those who truly deserve it. "

This weekend marks the 13th annual sales tax holiday in Texas.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs predicts shoppers will save $62.1 million in state and local sales taxes during the Sales Tax Holiday, which takes place each year on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August. A complete list of the tax exempt items can be found at the Texas State Comptroller's website: www.texastaxholiday.org.

Senator Ellis rejected calls to eliminate or weaken the sales tax holiday and, instead, called for an expansion, urging the elimination of costly corporate loopholes -- like the natural gas tax exemption -- to help pay for it.

Texas gave away over $7.4 Billion in tax giveaways from 2004-09 to natural gas producers who already profit in the billions, because their lobbyists have been able to maintain an antiquated definition of "high cost" gas in the code. This 'tax incentive' was created in 1989 to help companies with the costs of drilling high cost wells, which made sense then, but now virtually every new well produced is a so-called 'high cost' well.

"It is long past time to expand this holiday to provide more savings to Texas families," said Ellis. "We give tens of billions of dollars away in wasteful corporate tax giveaways. It is time to tighten up our books and provide tax relief to those Texans who really need it, not multi-billion corporations."

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