by Barry Smith
It’s tax-free weekend. That means I’ll be headed to the department stores to supplement my wardrobe.
Sure, I know that the tax-free weekend is a gimmick. It was established in 2001 as a sugar-coating of a bitter pill. That year, the General Assembly raised a significant amount of taxes to bridge a budget gap.
But even though it’s a gimmick, I’ll take advantage of this opportunity to legally keep a bit of my money rather than hand it over to the state.
I’m always a bit perplexed when politicians brag about their support of the legislation that established the sales tax holiday back in 2001. Anyone who voted for the sales tax holiday also had to have voted on quite a few other not-so-insignificant tax increases. Those included:
— An increase in the state sales tax from 4 percent to 4.5 percent.
— Authorization for counties to levy an additional one-half cent on the dollar sales tax.
— A 5 percent state gross receipts sales tax on satellite TV services.
— A marginal income tax increase on married couples filing jointly and making taxable income of more than $200,000, or individuals making more than $160,000.
— A gross premiums tax increase on HMOs.
— A sales tax on spirituous liquors.
— A removal of the cap on highway use taxes.
— An increase in telecommunications taxes.
The tax increases, geared to bring in hundreds of million dollars a year, by far eclipsed the savings that would be felt by taxpayers during the sales tax holiday, which was estimated at the time to be $8.4 million a year.
Politicians today who tout their support for the bill that enacted the sales tax holiday do so at their own peril.