Each and every summer, I am shocked at how quickly we seem to get to August. It feels like just yesterday it was snowing, and now we’re weeks away from the start of a new school year. As a father of four, I know firsthand how hectic and expensive this time of the year can be. From figuring out classroom schedules to making time for sports and extracurricular activities, ensuring each of my children are set up to succeed as they begin a new grade isn’t always an easy task.
But the Ohio House has made this period of transition a little easier on parents. For the fourth year in a row, we passed legislation to create a sales tax holiday during the first weekend of August. What does that mean for you? From Friday, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 5, clothing and school supplies will be exempt from state and county sales and use tax. Specifically, clothing items up to $75 each and school and instructional materials up to $20 each will be free of taxes when purchased during this weekend.
Buying four sets of school supplies and clothes to replace what my kids have grown out of adds up fast. I understand how these extra expenses can burden a family, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck and have a difficult time affording more than the usual bills. This sales tax holiday is intended to provide parents with a little relief during a busy time while stimulating economic activity. I encourage you to take advantage of this tax exemption while also shopping locally to support Ohio retailers.
Not only is the sales tax holiday a boon for families and teachers looking to restock their classroom, it has also proven to be a boost to our economy. In 2015, the first year of the event, an extra $4.7 million in consumption was generated, and consumers saved $3.3 million as well. The sales tax holiday has additional advantages for counties that border other states, like Lawrence and Gallia counties in our district. Also in 2015, border counties experienced at 15.48 percent increase in sales tax collection, demonstrating that many people from out-of-state came to Ohio to participate in the tax exemption while also spending their dollars in support of our economy.
Every year since, the sales tax holiday has continued to be a popular event for all Ohioans looking to save a little money on back-to-school purchases, and our economy seems to benefit as well. Because of its success, the legislature passed a bill to make the event permanent. From here on out, the sales tax holiday will be held annually during the first weekend of August. Now, families can prepare each year to get their school shopping done during this weekend and save more of their hard-earned money.
Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) is currently the Speaker in the Ohio House of Representatives. Smith represents the 93rd District which includes Gallia County.