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Legislature Could Mandate a Back to School Sale
Sales tax holidays would land in August and November.

Going back to school isn't always so much fun.

Republicans are sponsoring a bill in the state Legislature that would set aside two weekends a year during which shoppers would be exempt from a variety of sales taxes, including a weekend in August that would temporarily remove taxes from school supplies and computers.

The second weekend, the first in November, would target any products with an Energy Star certification. This includes appliances, building materials and some electronics.

The law would present more than a few lucrative opportunities for shoppers. The definition of school supplies would include clothing for both adults and children (up to $75 in price) and many TVs, Blu-Ray players and other consumer electronics carry the Energy Star logo.

Here is what would be exempted, and when.

First weekend in August

Clothing up to $75 but not belt buckles, costume masks, patches or sewing materials

Computers up to $2,000

Computer supplies up to $250

Instructional materials up to $300, including reference books, maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks

School supplies up to $75, including binders, book bags, compasses, crayons, blackboards, highlighters, folders, legal pads, loose-leaf paper, etc.

First weekend in November

Any product bearing the Energy Star label

The legislation, which could decrease tax revenues by $14.5 million, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, leaves an out for the state Department of Revenue, which could cancel the tax holidays in a given year if the discounts threatened the state's fiscal stability.

Sponsors of the bill claim the holidays drive up retail sales and act as an economic stimulus.

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