Believe it or not, students across Ohio will be returning to school in less than a month. Back-to-school shopping has become an annual tradition for many families, but it can put a major dent in family budgets. Between clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies, many families spend hundreds of dollars. For families with several kids, back to school shopping often rivals the holidays as the most expensive shopping time of the year.

When I was Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, one of my priorities was enacting this back-to-school sales tax holiday. We were able to push it through the legislative process to help families with the high cost of back-to-school shopping. Those of us in the Ohio General Assembly passed it to implement a pilot sales tax holiday in the first weekend of August last year. Ohioans were able to purchase certain items without having to pay sales tax on those items.

During last year’s event, consumers saved $3.3 million in taxes they would have paid on these items. Meanwhile, Ohio businesses also benefitted.

One national retailer noted that during the sales tax holiday, Cleveland and Columbus markets were the highest performing regions for their chain in the entire nation.

Additionally, some shoppers from neighboring states came to Ohio to take advantage of the savings, all while supporting Ohio businesses by buying taxable services and items such as dining and fuel. This helped to off-set lost sales tax revenue to the state and local governments.

The sales tax holiday was so popular and successful that earlier this year we passed a law to renew it once again for 2016.

This year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday will take place August 5 through August 7. Clothing priced up to $75 per item, school supplies up to $20 per item, and school instructional material up to $20 per item will all be exempt from sales tax.

It should be noted that anyone, not just families with school-age children, can take advantage of the tax free weekend.

I encourage everyone to go out and stock up on these items during this year’s Ohio tax free shopping weekend August 5 through August 7.


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