OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying it's time to give Oklahoma shoppers a greater incentive to spend their dollars at home, Senator Jonathon Nichols announced today that he has authored legislation calling for an annual ten day sales tax holiday.
"I think its widely known that many Oklahoman's head to Texas each August to take advantage of their tax free weekend. The ten-day tax holiday proposal I've authored would include that weekend so we can encourage Oklahomans to support their local businesses," explained Senator Nichols.
The Norman Republican said the Senate Bill 163 would allow all Oklahomans to purchase up to $100 worth of clothing or footwear tax-free during the ten-day period.
"This is going to be a big help for families getting their kids ready for school in the fall, and it's going to give a boost to Oklahoma businesses as well," said Nichols.
Numerous tax holiday proposals have been introduced in the legislature in the past, but none made it to the Governor's desk for approval.
"Initial estimates show we're going to have more than $300 million new dollars this year to appropriate. According to the State Tax Commission, this proposal would cost the state less than $8 million. While we do have obligations throughout state government in education, transportation and other areas, clearly this is something we can afford to do for our citizens," said Senator Nichols.
Currently Florida is the only other state in the nation to offer a ten-day sales tax holiday.
"The consumers who will benefit most from such a holiday are families who must operate on a shoe string budget, yet many of them may not be able to get off work in time to enjoy the limited time frame of a three day holiday," explained Nichols. "Why not extend the holiday so that all Oklahomans can enjoy the tax break."
The Norman Chamber of commerce recently mailed a letter to area legislators in which they urged the legislators to support a sales tax holiday. Many believe that such a holiday will increase sales of local retailers leading to a boost in local economies. Nichols' Senate District 15 encompasses part of Norman as well as all of McClain and most of Garvin Counties.
"Not only will families on limited budgets benefit, but all citizens who shop for the specified goods during the holiday. Local businesses will also make gains in profits through increased sales, and all is accomplished without a significant impact on this years state budget," Nichols asserted.
"This is the type of tax cut that hopefully will receive bipartisan support," Nichols said.
Other states with sales tax holidays include Iowa, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.