"People appreciate it," she says.

Asked about the Tax Foundation's assertion that some retailers raise prices during tax holidays, Quinn Stickline says she doubts it. Shoppers, particularly her regular customers, are well aware of prices and would notice if a store tried that.

She adds that it's almost physically impossible to change price tags on thousands of items for one week only.

"No way can I raise my prices for one week," she says. "It doesn't even make sense."

Richard Clinch, director of economic research at the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute, says a tax holiday succeeds in getting consumers into the stores, including some of his family members.

"It's not creating new retail purchases. It's simply shifting things and saving people money," he says.

A good fiscal policy, Clinch says, should have consistent taxes applied uniformly, without favoring one thing over another.

But, the economist adds, a tax holiday is good public relations, especially in a high-tax state like Maryland.

"It's a gift to taxpayers at a time they need it," Clinch says. "I would say this is the best $10 million Maryland probably spent."

On what else could the state spend that money, he asks, and make a couple of hundred thousand people happy?

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

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