Lawmaker Says School Supply Tax Holiday Would Benefit Colorado

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DENVER (CBS4) – Lawmakers are deciding whether Colorado should have a new holiday that could save parents money.

The bill would create a tax holiday on school supplies. The first $75 of any article of clothing, pair of shoes or piece of sports equipment would be tax free. And the first $50 of any other school item, such as backpacks, textbooks, pens and pencils would also be tax free.

CBS4's Shaun Boyd talks with Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd talks with Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver (credit: CBS)

The holiday would be the first weekend in August.

Corinne Fowler has an eighth-grader and says the list gets longer and pricier every year.

“Everything — paper towels, Kleenex, paper for the classroom even,” Fowler said.

“We give a lot of breaks from the state Legislature to corporations and special interests all the time,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver. “This is one of those few times that money actually goes directly into people’s pockets.”

Pabon told a House committee that while the tax holiday might cost up to $3 million in lost sales tax, in the 18 other states that have tax holidays it helps not only family’s bottom line, but the state’s as well.

“Also you see a lot of spurred sales at the stores, people coming across state lines to come and purchase products, so I think in the end the state actually gets a net benefit,” Pabon said.

Fowler says the small break will make a big difference for many families.

“It may not seem like a ton of money, but a little bit of help gets them to end of the month,” Fowler said.

The National Retail Federation estimates the average family spent nearly $635 last year on back-to-school supplies. The state sales tax is 2.9 percent, so families would save an average of $19.

Everybody would get the tax break whether they’re a student or not.

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