News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2006


Legislature should OK tax-free weekend

Legislators will be really inept if they allow the proposed bill for a tax-free weekend of shopping for back- to-school items to get lost on their last day of the session Monday.

The Senate and House each passed legislation to give parents of school students a tax break on the first weekend in August. But the bills are different on the tax deduction for books, so they must be reconciled on the final day of the session or the proposal will die.

The philosophy behind the proposal is that the state can't afford to roll back the sales tax permanently, but can afford to suspend it temporarily at a time when parents are hit with heavy back-to-school spending for clothing, books and school supplies.

In Decatur, the weekend could mean a 9 percent savings if the city and the county were to participate. But the Legislature must act to suspend its 4 percent sales tax for the weekend.

Morgan County Chairman John Glasscock said commission members haven't discussed suspending the 3 percent county sales tax, but he thinks the commission should.

Decatur Mayor Don Kyle is on record favoring Decatur temporarily giving up its 2 percent city sales tax.

If passed, the weekend could become larger than a back-to-school promotion. Abating the tax on the first $100 for each item of clothing and shoes bought might also promote early Christmas shopping.

But the idea is to give parents a break, and suspending the tax will.

Legislators should not leave Montgomery without sending a compromise bill to Gov. Bob Riley.

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