3:23 PM EDT, August 15, 2013
By most accounts, Maryland Tax-Free Week has been a good way for shoppers to get a limited break from Maryland's 6 percent sales tax.
Timed to coincide with back-to-school shopping in August, shoppers don't have to pay state sales tax when buying most apparel and footwear items under $100. It's a well-timed break for parents and an added boost for retailers. This year's tax-free week ends Saturday.
And while any break from the state's regressive sales tax is a welcome relief, limiting the tax holiday to just clothing is too narrow, especially if the goal is to help parents financially as their children return to school.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average family is expected to spend about $635 this year on back-to-school items and only about half of that will be on clothing. The rest will be school supplies such as books, pens, pencils, backpacks, electronics and other items. It only makes sense that these items are exempt as well.
During the last state legislature, 38 House delegates, including Howard County's Guy Guzzone, sponsored legislation that would have done just this for supplies that cost under $100. But it never came up for a vote.
When the legislature reconvenes in January, we hope they will revisit this topic. We doubt that we'll hear many complaints, outside of government that is, against this limited yet very reasonable tax break.
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