FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/03/2015
Rep. Dwayne Bohac and Sen. Rodney Ellis File Bills to Increase Savings During Texas' Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday
Austin, TX -- Today, State Representative Dwayne Bohac (Houston) and State Senator Rodney Ellis (Houston) held a press conference to discuss HB 1087 and SB 426 that will expand the state's annual sales tax holiday weekend. Specifically, the bills will increase the purchase limit amount on clothing, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies eligible for sales tax exemption from $100 to $200 while adding certain electronic devices, such as computers, tablets and e-readers, to the list of school supply items that are tax-free during the sales tax holiday.
Since it was first enacted in 1999, the sales tax holiday has maintained a $100 limit for clothing items or shoes to be exempt from sales tax. These bills will increase that amount from $100 to $200 for an item to be eligible. Additionally, the bills will add certain electronic devices to the list of items that are tax-free during the school supplies sales tax holiday including e-readers, personal computers and tablet computers.
"I am committed to making tax relief for hardworking families a priority this session," said Rep. Bohac. "Preliminary budget proposals have afforded us the opportunity to offer meaningful tax relief for consumers, homeowners and business owners. Over the years, the back-to-school sales tax holidays have offered consumers important spending relief, but we need to make it reflective of “inflation creep” and modernize the law to represent what students and consumers are buying in 2015. I am happy to have worked with Sen. Ellis to get backpacks added to the list of tax exempt items, but now we have to work to help fill them with the electronics that the 21st century classroom requires."
The back-to-school sales tax holiday was originally created when Sen. Ellis passed SB 441 in 1999. SB 441 exempted certain footwear and clothing under $100 from sales tax during the sales tax holiday weekend.
"It's time to bring the sales tax holiday into the 21st century," said Sen. Ellis. "Texas needs to increase the sales tax holiday amount and add the electronic devices that our students regularly use to succeed in the classroom. As long as tax cuts remain on the agenda this session, I intend to fight for tax cuts that will go straight to families' pockets. After all, the sales tax holiday means real tax relief for those who need it most."
In 2009, Rep. Bohac successfully authored HB 1801 that added most school supplies and backpacks to the list of exempted items during Texas’ annual sales tax holiday.
Rep. Bohac said, "As a father, I appreciate the responsibility of equipping our children for success as they begin their school year and recognize the strain that this can cause on a family's budget. The sales tax holiday helps families save almost 10 percent while getting the essentials for the school year."
Currently, the three-day annual sales tax holiday exempts Texas shoppers from paying sales and use taxes on most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100. This saves shoppers roughly $8 on every $100 they spend. Since the annual sales tax holiday was enacted in 1999, it has saved Texans roughly $862.1 million through 2014.
"Texas shoppers are having a difficult time getting their money's worth because inflation has eviscerated the buying power of a dollar; there is no question in my mind that working families need tax relief," Rep. Bohac said. "We owe it to all Texans to provide real tax savings and these two bills will help with that relief."
List of qualifying school supplies (currently if priced less than $100)
Folders; expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila
Glue, paste and paste sticks
Index card boxes
Markers (including dry erase markers)
Paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper
Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
List of Qualifying Clothing, Footwear and Other Items (currently under $100) Sold During the Sales Tax Holiday
Baby diapers (cloth or disposable)
Belts with attached buckles
Boots (general purpose)
Caps (baseball, fishing, golf)
Children’s novelty costumes
Coats and wraps
Diapers (cloth and disposable)
Employee uniforms (unless rented)
Fishing vests (non-flotation)
Graduation caps and gowns
Gym suits and uniforms
Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts
Hosiery, including support hosiery
Knitted caps or hats •Leg warmers
Leotards and tights
Neckwear and ties
Nightgowns and nightshirts
Raincoats and ponchos
Shawls and wraps
Sleepwear, nightgowns, pajamas
Suits, slacks, and jackets
Ties (neckties - all)
Uniforms (school, work, nurse, waitress, military, postal, police, fire)