ANNAPOLIS — A bill being sponsored by eight Republicans in the House of Delegates to exempt college textbooks from the sales tax had its first hearing this past week in Annapolis.

House Bill 38 calls for no sales tax on textbooks purchased in Maryland by part- or full-time students attending a college or university. It's initial hearing was held Jan. 25.

"The price of textbooks of $500 for a semester is not unusual, and this is a tremendous burden, especially on middle-income families," said Del. Wade Kach, who represents District 5B and is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill's primary sponsor is Michael Smigiel, who represents District 36, which includes Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne's counties


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Also sponsoring it are Susan Krebs, who represents Carroll County in District 9B (Eldersburg/Sykesville); Nicholas Kipke and Cathleen Vitale, of Anne Arundel; Susan McComas, of Harford; Michael McDermott, of Wicomico and Worcester counties; and Kelly Schulz, of Frederick County.

The average student at the University of Maryland spends more than $1,000 a year on textbooks, according to Maryland Public Interest Research Group's website. That site notes that textbook prices have increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994.