Sales tax holiday costs NC estimated $14.5 million

Posted August 11, 2011 3:14 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2011 11:17 a.m. EDT

Money generic, dollars

— The annual sales tax holiday weekend, held Aug. 5-7, cost North Carolina about $14.5 million, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue said Thursday.

The event – designed as a boost to retailers and parents shopping in the back-to-school season – allows shoppers to buy a long list of items tax-free, including clothing that's less than $100 per item, school supplies under $100, computer systems under $3,500, computer accessories less than $250 per item and sports and recreational equipment less than $50 per item.

Revenue spokeswoman Beth Stevenson said schools and teachers also take advantage of the tax holiday to stock up on supplies more cheaply since their budgets have been cut in recent years.

While some say they mark the dates of the sales tax holiday to enjoy the savings, the state budget takes a revenue hit.

Sen. Richard Stevens, R-Wake, suggested that the costs outweigh the benefits and the program should be re-evaluated.

"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," he said Aug. 2.