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Sales tax break drives shoppers to stores

Posted August 5, 2011

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— North Carolina students started their homework Friday by checking items off the back-to-school supplies list.

Parents and children crowded stores Friday on the start of the annual sales tax holiday weekend. From 12:01 a.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, shoppers won't have to pay sales tax on clothing, shoes, school supplies, sports equipment, computers and computer accessories.

"In this time, when everybody is challenged to make every little dime stretch, we came out just so we wouldn't have to pay any more taxes," shopper Janet Thompson said.

Jackson Mays drove from Fayetteville to Cary to cruise the aisles of Target to look for books, notebooks and paper for his school-age daughter.

"When you save money anywhere, it's a great help," Mays said.

Using a fifth-grade classroom supply list from Wake County, a shopper would save $2.90 on $43.29 of products.

Some shoppers said that difference alone isn't enough to make them pull out their wallets.

"Even with school supplies, I look at the coupons and the sales," shopper Kristen Braxton said. "Just the tax-free isn't enough. It's got to be more."

The state Department of Revenue expects shoppers to save $14.5 million this weekend. That's down from last year, because the state sales tax dropped by a penny July 1, to 4.75 percent. Including local sales tax, shoppers usually pay from 6.75 percent to 7.25 percent in taxes.

The General Assembly adopted the sales tax holiday weekend several years ago in hopes of stimulating the economy. Tax-free weekend draws shoppers Tax-free weekend draws shoppers

Some lawmakers, however, question the need for it in light of tough economic times, saying the state loses revenue because of the event.

"I would say probably postpone the program for the short term and evaluate it," Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, said. "What does it mean for the economy of the state versus what does it mean for the loss of revenue? If it's more loss of revenue than gain, we ought not to continue the program."

People shopping Friday morning said they oppose that idea.

"The way the economy is right now, I think it's still a good idea to have a tax-free weekend for North Carolina," one shopper said.

Another said she depends on it.

"We low-income families, we just can't really do without having this tax-free weekend," she said. "We're on a budget, especially single parents like me. We need this weekend in order to get the stuff we need for our children, so they can have a good education."


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  • superman Aug 8, 2011

    You save more when the items are on sale than buying and not paying the sales tax. $2.90 is hardly a savings. Cost more in gas to get there than they saved. People seem to be penny wise and dollar foolish.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 8, 2011

    @cjw6105, economics tells us that reducing the price of a commodity will encourage its use. Since driving is not good for us, it makes sense to discourage its use and use tax money to pay for the damage it causes. If some states are better at getting the gas users to pay for the damage that gas users cause, that seems pretty smart (and fair) to me.

    Two final things:

    1- Many people say that they want “less government”? So, what is wrong with businesses charging what the market will bear?

    2- Why don’t gas-price complainers take responsibility for themselves? ...drive slower...live closer to work...don’t have 10 kids...drive a gas sipper...or...start your own gas station and charge whatever you want.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 8, 2011

    "Go towards Burlington on Hwy 70 or Dunn on Hwy 98 and gas is 10-15 cents a gallon cheaper. WHY?!!! - boneymaroney13"

    The Sheetz on Capital in North Raleigh and the Wal-Mart gas station in Wake Forest always have low prices.

    The Sheetz, Flying J, Hess, Pilot, and the Wal-Mart gas stations in Mebane, NC are usually 15 to 20 cents below what you see in Raleigh.

    The farther you get away from downtown Raleigh, the lower the prices are.

    Which is kind of ironic seeing that the gas in the Raleigh area passes through storage tanks in downtown Raleigh first.

    The pricing seems backwards, with shipping included you would think the prices would be higher the farther you get from downtown Raleigh.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 8, 2011

    The tax free weekend didn't have much of an effect.

    I was in the Wal-Mart and Target at Triangle Town Center in North Raleigh on Friday night and the Wal-Mart in Wake Forest on Sunday. The stores were empty.

    Didn't see anybody taking advantage of the weekend.

  • boneymaroney13 Aug 5, 2011

    Go towards Burlington on Hwy 70 or Dunn on Hwy 98 and gas is 10-15 cents a gallon cheaper. WHY?!!!

  • ditch Aug 5, 2011

    Night - I agree some students fit into the wide real that you have painted them all in. However, many of our students can form thoughts and write them down as well. Many of them are learning things now that were not even thought about until college years in the past.

    As for grouping this with the war on drugs, I dont get your point there, but Im sure there is a tie in. I will say, that the state predicts and budgets for prisons based on third grade students performance, so thinking that you as a citizen should not pay your part for educating our young is not the smartest thing in the world.

    As for your comments in general, you are the type of person that causes the biggest problem. Your comments about ignoring the check box for online spending says enough about you. Please continue to enjoy living in America while the rest of us pay your way.

  • nighttrain2010 Aug 5, 2011

    >>Are you serious? Would you rather more of your money go to prisons or to schools? If we dont educate kids where will we be in 20 years? -ditch

    We've been 'educating' them for quite some time now and a kid today couldn't think his or her way out of paper bag let alone write a complete thought in sentence format. Combine that with the 'war' on drugs and the state's sending them out of one with little preparation and filling up the other with passive non violent 'criminals'

    There are actually two ways to handle this on the tax form. If you keep good records, you "report" what you spend on the internet. - DontLikeTheSocialistObama

    Or you could do what I do. Look at the box on the form, ignore it, and move on. The state takes enough of my money WITHOUT taxing my online purchases. The state can go take a flying leap

  • fayncmike Aug 5, 2011

    "I really hope that voters change their voter reg. to independant so that they can vote for who they think would do the best job, and not just a straight party ticket. Make your Vote Count!

    Are you somehow under the impression that how you register in any way governs or effects how you vote? Party choice on voter registration ONLY determines which primary you may vote in.

    Nah, can't be, I must not understand RY's post.

  • I know some stuff Aug 5, 2011

    WRAL should give you this link, that shows WHAT is eligible:

  • cjw6105 Aug 5, 2011

    hereandnow99, since when does 3 and a half dollar gasoline encourage consumption? I buy gas simply to get from point A to point B, not for recreational use.

    I was simply implying that the NC gas tax, which recently went up again, is killing us here. Everywhere else you go, gas is not only cheaper, but MUCH cheaper. If you take a US map and color the states red or blue, you will see, almost without fail, that the red states have much cheaper gas than the blue states do.