Ohioans will get some relief at cash registers this week as the state embarks on its first “sales tax holiday” in the midst of back-to-school shopping season.
Under state law passed last year, retailers will not be charging sales tax on clothing items of $75 or less and school supplies and instructional material of $20 or less from Friday, Aug. 7, through Sunday, Aug. 9. There is no limit on the amount of the total purchase.
Local retailers are prepared and expecting an influx of customers.
“We ordered in extra (merchandise) just for that reason,” said Jason Fidle, a manager at the Wal-Mart at Delaware Community Plaza Shopping Center. “We’re staffing to be busy.”
Eric Lindman, manager of the Office Max at Glenwood Commons, said his company is also prepared for what is expected to be a major shopping weekend.
“We’re just hoping that we can get some traffic through the store and make a lot of happy customers,” he said. “The idea is to make it bit easier for families to get the supplies they need for school.”
It’s not only local chain retailers looking to attract more customers during the one-time event.
Dale Needles, a manager of Hibbett Sports, also in Glenwood Commons, said the store will open an hour early both Friday and Saturday.
“We just got a pretty big shipment today,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people through the last week talk about (the sales tax holiday).”
The store will also be offering special deals to coincide with the event.
“We have sales on top our of sales tax holiday,” said Needles.
Tami Furlong, owner of Fundamentals in downtown Delaware, said she does not expect an influx of customers over the weekend.
Most of her customers this time of year are teachers preparing for the start of the school year, she said.
“I’m swamped at this time of the year anyway, but I don’t think the sales tax holiday will impact me greatly,” Furlong said.
Nonetheless, she supports the idea, but wishes the event was held earlier in the year.
“For those families who are sending kids back to school, it’s a great idea,” she said. “It’s an expensive time of the year for them.”
The sales tax holiday is expected to boost August retail sales by 4.8 percent, according to a University of Cincinnati study.
However, the Ohio Legislative Services Commission also estimated that the state will lose out on about $14 million in sales tax revenue, while counties and transit authorities sales tax revenues will decrease by about $3.2 million.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.