Friday, August 3, 2012

Sales tax holiday — get those garter belts now

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 8:55 AM

ITS A SOUTHERN THING: Map from bankrate.com shows states with sales tax holidays this year.
  • IT'S A SOUTHERN THING: Map from bankrate.com shows states with sales tax holidays this year.

The much ballyhooed Arkansas "sales tax holiday" — spun as a back-to-school boon — is this weekend.

Time again for a reminder that none other than the Republican-beloved Tax Foundation has scoffed at the idea of sales tax holidays. Politically expedient, but poor tax policy, it says.

Despite their political popularity, sales tax holidays are based on poor tax policy and distract policymakers and taxpayers from real, permanent, and economically beneficial tax reform. Sales tax holidays introduce unjustifi­able government distortions into the economy without providing any significant boost to the economy. They represent a real cost for busi­nesses without providing substantial benefits. They are also an inefficient means of helping low-income consumers and an ineffective means of providing savings to consumers.

They are hard to administer, too. Imagine programming registers for the items that do and don't qualify. I suspect auditing of the process isn't rigorous. The regressive nature of the sales tax plays out on the spending end, too. The rich can spend more, thus benefit more.

Just so you'll know, here's the state list that outlines what qualifies and what does not. Back-to-school holiday items include

* Jewelry (items costing less than $50, a limit at least one "holiday"-promoting jewelry merchant I've heard about apparently missed.)

* Garters and garter belts.

* Cosmetics (up to $50 per item)

* Sunglasses (non-prescription)

* Wedding apparel (no Vera Wang except from Goodwill, $100 per item limit)

* Formal wear (also a $100 per item limit)

* Ear muffs (will we ever need these in Arkansas again?)

Arkansas doesn't currently have a tax holiday for guns, as some other jurisdictions do. Please, nobody tell Nate Bell.

UPDATE: Another website points out also that wise shoppers can often do better by shopping at sales times — when items are 10, 15 and 20 percent off — rather than settling for the state 6 percent sales tax savings. (Dare I also say that many of these goods can be bought year-round on the web with no sales tax unless voluntarily remitted by the purchaser.) This website is not pro-tax, though it notes the tax holidays deplete state revenues forcing states to find the money elsewhere. It urges, instead, a lowering of the sales tax rate year-round. Hard to do that when a signficant number of legislators are yammering for repeal of the income tax.

Tags: , ,

Favorite

Speaking of Sales Tax Holiday, Taxes

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Criticism continues of state takeover of Little Rock schools

    Criticism continues of the state decision to take over the school district, particularly keeping the man who led the failed district in charge.
    • Feb 2, 2015
  • Is Arkansas planning to withdraw from PARCC, the Common Core testing consortium?

    Rep. Mark Lowery, a Republican from Maumelle, has introduced a bill that would put the brakes on Arkansas's implementation of standardized testing based on Common Core State Standards. Lowery says the bill is motivated in part because legislators have been told by ADE officials, unofficially, that "the PARCC contract will not be renewed" beyond the current academic year.
    • Feb 3, 2015
  • Living like a Walmart heir hard to give up

    The only Arkansas connection here is the wellspring of Walton money from which the foundation of this tabloid divorce epic flows. But, for a taste of how the rich live, courtesy of TMZ:
    • Feb 4, 2015

Most Shared

  • George H.W. Bush will vote for Hillary. Or will he?

    Politico reports that Kathleen Harrington Kennedy Townsend says former Republican President George H.W. Bush is voting for Hillary Clinton for president. The article quotes a Bush spokesman as declining to confirm or deny.
  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation