Oklahoma lawmakers push sales tax holiday

Wednesday, February 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A legislative committee Wednesday gave its blessing to legislation that would give Oklahoma shoppers a sales tax holiday.

Without debate, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee recommended passage of a measure to waive Oklahoma sales taxes on clothing and footwear purchases during a three-day period in early August.

The measure's author, Rep. Bill Nations, D-Norman, said it duplicates a sales tax holiday in Texas which has proven popular with shoppers on both sides of the Red River.

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander has estimated that shoppers purchased about $467 million in tax-free clothes and shoes during the three-day shopping spree Aug. 4-6.

Families saved an estimated $37 million during Texas'

second-annual sales tax holiday, Rylander's office said. The savings included $29.2 million in state sales tax and $7.8 million in local sales taxes.

During the 1999 sales tax holiday, shoppers saved about $32.6 million in taxes.

Last year, Texas extended sales tax exemptions to include layaways. And legislators in Texas have been urged to consider making school supplies tax-free in coming years and extending the weekend holiday to two weeks.

Nations said his measure will require the state to reimburse local governments for sales taxes lost during the holiday. He said he does not want to create financial hardships for city and county governments.

"We have a lot of municipalities in Oklahoma that are revenue starved," Nations said.

The Oklahoma measure will cost the state a total of nearly $5 million, he said.

Like the Texas statute, Nations' measure would limit the sales tax holiday to articles with a sales price of less than $100 per item.

The proposal marks the second consecutive year that the Legislature will consider a sales tax holiday bill, which is part of the Democratic caucus' wish list for the 2001 legislative session.

The agenda also includes tax credits for child care to assist working families, an earned-income tax credit for the working poor and elimination of the state franchise tax for small businesses.

------ On the Net: Oklahoma House of Representatives: http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/house/ohorpage.htm