Senator Lucio's Letterhead

STATEMENT FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

SENATOR LUCIO ENCOURAGES SOUTH TEXAS FAMILIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SALES TAX HOLIDAY - AUGUST 4-6

AUSTIN, TX - Summer is a favorite time of the year for kids, but parents know that the start of school and the costs associated with it are just around the corner. That means many families will begin budgeting now for back-to-school expenses.

The Texas Legislature passed a family-friendly tax relief bill in 1999 to give parents a break, which is the state's yearly Sales Tax Holiday, occurring the first weekend of August each year to coincide with back-to-school time. Families can take these exemptions into account when preparing their school budgets.

The law, expected to save Texas consumers millions in state and local sales taxes, exempts most clothes and shoes priced under $100 from the sales tax, which is a savings of $8 on every $100 spent. Backpacks and school supplies are not exempt. The Eighth Annual Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 4, and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 6.

"I would like to see the sales tax exemption in the future include school supplies and also see the tax holiday time extended to longer than three days to offer parents more tax-free shopping," said Sen. Lucio. "However, I fully support this measure for its positive impact on families in my district, as well as statewide, and strongly encourage all Texans to take full advantage of it."

Predictions indicate that Texans will save $49 million in sales taxes, approximately $38.5 million in state sales tax and $10.5million in local sales taxes.

Local taxing authorities, such as cities and counties, can decide to opt out of exempting local taxes. Although the tax holiday is geared toward helping families during back-to-school time, any shopper can participate, regardless of whether the person has children or not. In addition to pants, shirts and dresses, some of the other items exempted from taxes are tennis shoes, diapers, baby clothes, coats, choir robes, costumes, gym suits, bridal apparel, socks, boots and work uniforms.

Highlights about the Sales tax holiday

The tax holiday occurs every year on the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of August. 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.

Clothing and footwear used primarily for athletic activities or for protective wear are not eligible for the exemption. Customers buying golf cleats or football pads, for instance, must pay sales tax. Athletic wear that is also used for participation in other non-athletic activities can qualify for tax exemption. For example, tennis shoes, baseball caps, and jogging suits are worn during everyday activities and thus may be purchased tax free during the holiday.

Also excluded from the sales tax holiday are accessories such as jewelry and watches; items that are carried rather than worn, including handbags, briefcases and wallets; clothing rentals, such as formal wear and costumes; and repairs and alterations.

For questions about the sales tax holiday, please log onto http://www.window.state.tx.us or call toll free 1-800-252-5555.

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