By Marc Kovac
The Ohio Senate signed off Wednesday on legislation that would allow Ohioans to make certain purchases over a three-day period without paying state or local sales taxes.
The sales-tax holiday would begin on the first Friday of August and would cover school supplies, computers and supplies.
SB 243 passed on a vote of 30-2 and heads to the Ohio House for further consideration.
Proponents say the law change would give families a needed break when making back-to-school purchases and increase overall retail sales.
“It creates almost a Black Friday-like excitement,” said Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Columbus, a Defiance native and primary sponsor of the bill. “It’s a good excuse for retailers to go out and advertise the holiday and even give bigger breaks and sales on top of that.”
He added, “It’s a good thing to do for our constituents. It’s a good thing to do for our economy.”
The tax exemption would cover clothing, school supplies, textbooks, instructional materials, computers and tablets and other devices.
There would be limits on the value of items covered — computers up to $1,000, for example. And purchases such as sporting goods, video-game consoles and cellphones would not qualify.
Eighteen other states have comparable sales-tax holidays in place. The proposed Ohio sales-tax holiday would lead to an estimated $78 million in savings, about $38 per family, Bacon said.
Sen. Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus, offered a couple of amendments, including one that would make the sales-tax holiday a two-year pilot program, with an analysis to determine the benefits. She voiced concern about the potential impacts on local government coffers.
Her proposed changes to the legislation failed, however.