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Sales tax holiday a good idea, I guess

By now you’ve heard about the first ever Sales Tax Holiday weekend coming up beginning Friday at midnight and ending Saturday at 11:59 p.m.  The event is designed to give back-to-school families a break on apparel purchases on items that individually cost less than $100.00.

This year’s ‘holiday’ is mandatory, but in 2010 municipalities have the right to opt out of the holiday by approval of their governing boards.

I guess it’s all good and well for the state to finally step up and give a few folks a break on the 7% sales tax.  Mississippi actually lags behind other neighboring states on the holiday.  Residents in and around Alabama and Tennessee have enjoyed such tax-holiday events for  years.  Many of those enjoying the break have been Mississippians who have crossed over the lines and took millions of  their dollars with them to buy school stuff, purchase fuel, eat in restaurants, stay in hotels and the like.

The economic impact of most of that ‘new’ money being spent in the state will aid businesses for a longer period of time than just one weekend.  Dollars spent locally turn over up to seven times in the economy, helping sustain local businesses, industries and service providers.

The municipalities will suffer some, but it should only be a minor blip on the sales tax radar.  Heck, with the number and amount of all other taxes we pay, who is really going to notice, anyway?  But, I digress…

It’s about time Mississippi go with the program–but our state did not go quite as far as I would like to have seen it go.

Why stop at only two sales tax ‘holidays’?  Why not make it a week or a month?  Why exempt only clothing and shoes under $100 from the sales tax?  Why not include everything purchased of any value during the ‘holiday?’ Think of all the clothes, groceries, cars, trucks, boats, homes and other properties, flat screen TV’s and other goods, along with a plethora of services that would benefit from a lengthy and all-exempting sales tax holiday.  Heck, exempt fuel purchases, plane tickets, sporting event tickets, concert tickets, movie tickets–make it all non-taxable for a while!

Think of all the residents of neighboring states that would cross the lines to come to Mississippi, bringing their dollars to spend in our businesses!

Initially, the state and cities would take a hit on sales tax revenue, but in the long run that revenue would increase.  Money spent during the period would continue to turn over and over and over.  Former workers would be re-hired, more jobs would be created and incomes would eventually rise on higher productivity.  Towns and economic centers would be busy, again!

I believe such an event would turn the economy and the country around quicker and more directly than any government bailout that has ever been or will ever be shoved onto the backs of hard-working Mississippians.

But, it would never happen.  It makes too much sense.


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