Column/Sales tax holiday will help residents, boost economy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 16, 2006

Benjamin Franklin said, “Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

That statement was true hundreds of years ago and will remain so for as many years as men will inhabit the earth.

Taxes have their place and their purpose. Without taxes our governments wouldn’t function, although that concept sometimes is often too hard for many to comprehend thanks in part to what seems to be a never ending tax increase on items from milk to gasoline.

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Fortunately, for Dallas County and Selma, residents will get a break from those certain taxes as they purchase back to school supplies, which include clothes valued up to $100, school supplies that sell for up to $50 each, books worth up to $30 and computers and computer equipment valued up to $750 the weekend of Aug. 4 through the 6.

The efforts of the Alabama Retail Association should receive credit for getting this holiday passed through legislation, which will allow residents within the state to not pay one penny in state sales tax.

The conscious decision of our local elected officials also deserves praise for making good on the holiday at a local level.

According to the ARA web site, the state estimates a loss of $3.5 million in state sales tax that weekend, which means the state’s financial gurus expect $87.5 million in sales.

For the past two years, the ARA has championed this tax holiday and made its passage its top legislative priority this year.

Interestingly, some counties and municipalities have opted to not join the majority this year in the sales tax holiday for the purpose of continuing what they claim to be their commitment to education.

Communities like Trussville, Homewood and Pleasant Grove are opting out of the tax while reasoning the need to keep those tax dollars funneling through to the school systems, rather than remaining in the residents’ pockets.

Thankfully, our county and city have decided it better grant the tax savings, taking away the certainty of taxes for at least a weekend.

Obviously, our schools remain in need of funding, but perhaps more important for the residents of Selma and Dallas County is the need to pinch as many pennies as possible.

The sales tax holiday seems like a win-win situation.

Major stores such as Wal-Mart, Belk, Goodys and JC Penney are sure to have an especially profitable weekend compared to that of last year.

Surely any incentive to draw customers in the doors of the retail stores will come with their corporate backing.

The holiday should also reduce the reluctance of many would-be buyers with the knowledge of savings.

As it relates to the consumers, with rising inflation costs, every penny counts in most – if not all – households. That is especially true in the Black Belt, more so than other regions, where hopefully each penny saved will go a long way.

Jesse Lindsey is publisher of The Selma Times-Journal.