E-News from the Office of Senator Van de Putte
I hope this e-news finds you doing well. I am writing to remind you of the upcoming tax-free weekend and to send you the latest updates on the community college funding issue.
Texas Tax-Free Holiday: August 17 - August 19
Don't forget our tax-free weekend begins this morning, August 17, and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 19. The weekend provides Texas families an opportunity to prepare for back-to-school and save on new school clothes and shoes, so please be sure to take advantage of these savings. In fact, the tax break is expected to save Texas consumers over 52 million in state and local taxes this year.
Qualifying items are exempt from state and local sales taxes. Most clothing and footwear priced at less than $100 will be exempt from sales tax. Customers will receive the break on individual items, regardless of the total amount they buy. For example, sales tax is not due if a customer buys six shirts each priced at $99.99. But full tax is due on a shirt sold for $100; the first $99.99 cannot be exempted.
Below is a list of items and their exemption status for this weekend:
- Baby clothes
- Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students
- Belts with attached buckles
- Boots - cowboy, hiking
- Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted
- Coats and wraps
- Diapers - adult and baby
- Gloves (generally)
- Gym suits and uniforms
- Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
- Jerseys - baseball and football
- Jogging apparel
- Neckwear and ties
- Pants and trousers
- Raincoats and ponchos
- Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking
- Socks (including athletic)
- Suits, slacks, and jackets
- Sweat suits
- Work clothes and uniforms
- Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytails holders, wallets, watches
- Backpacks - unless for use by elementary and secondary students
- Baseball cleats and pants
- Belt buckles (without belt)
- Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders
- Buttons and zippers
- Cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics
- Dry cleaning services
- Football pants
- Golf gloves
- Handbags and purses
- Hard hats
- Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports
- Ice skates
- Laundering services
- Leather goods - except belts with buckles and wearing apparel
- Pads - Football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder
- Personal flotation devices
- Rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear, and costumes)
- Roller blades and skates
- Safety clothing, glasses
- Shoes - bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf
For more information please click here: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html
Community College Funding Update
As you are aware, Governor Perry overruled the legislature and vetoed $154 million in necessary funding for community colleges, which serve as a gateway to higher education; in fact 72% of Texas students began their educational career in a community college. This decision negatively impacts community colleges across our state and in particular the Alamo Community College District (ACCD). ACCD is the largest institution of higher education in South Texas with 75,000 students a semester. Over 1.3 million people reside in the ACCD taxing jurisdiction.
This week, Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) convened the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee in an effort to begin the process of restoring critical funding for our community colleges. Dr. Bruce H. Leslie, Chancellor of the ACCD and Roberto Zarate, Chairman of the ACCD Board of Trustees, both testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education on August 14, 2007, to address the issue of community college funding.
Through their testimony, it was explained that the Governorís $154 million veto for community college group health insurance translates to a $12.1 million impact on the ACCD. They also stated that the most profound impacts of the funding cut will result in alternative strategies they may have to implement in order to avoid increasing taxes or tuition such as: charging tuition for dual credit programs; charging for testing and instructional support services; and becoming dependent on grants to implement joint programs with school districts and universities that enhance student transition and performance. Therefore, the district staff and board must now review and reconsider funding for initiatives and programs that have been developed to address the goals of the "Closing the Gaps" effort in this state.
My colleagues and I have expressed our concerns and Lt. Governor Dewhurst, has asked that the Legislative Budget Board convene in the fall to address the Governor's unexpected veto. I will continue to keep you updated on this very important issue and I assure you that I will continue my efforts to acquire state funding for our higher education needs.
On a Personal Note
2007 has been an exciting year for our family. I am proud to report that my eldest son, Henry Van de Putte III, graduated from St. Mary's University with honors. My youngest son, Paul Van de Putte, graduated from high school and will begin classes at Texas A&M University, in College Station, this month. Finally, my eldest daughter, Nichole Van de Putte-Stiles and her husband, Jason Stiles, have made my husband, Pete, and I extremely proud grandparents. On July 6, 2007, Julian Claiborne Stiles was born, our beloved first grandchild. Indeed we have been blessed.
Please feel free to contact me regarding any questions or concerns you might have; and please have a safe and happy weekend!
HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6605 - fax