Reporting Gigi Barnett
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Sunday marks the start of a tax-free shopping week around the state. For many parents, the discount is just in time for back-to-school shopping.
Gigi Barnett reports some shoppers say it’s a small way to save during a tough economy.
The statewide week-long suspension of the six percent sales tax has many stores rolling out the welcome mat and shoppers flocking in.
“When we have bus trips going to Delaware to the malls there to save, it must be something,” said K-Mart Manager Michael Humphrey.
Humphrey runs the K-Mart in east Baltimore. He’s beefed up the number of workers on the floor this week and he’s even decorated the store with reminders of the tax holiday.
Maryland is one of 16 states offering the tax-free days and the state could lose as much as $15 million because of the rollback. The tradeoff is, more customers spending cash during a weak economy.
“Our economy is stuck in some kind of limbo,” said State Comptroller Peter Franchot. “We need to urge our citizens, where appropriate, to open up their wallets and do their purchases.”
Bob and Barbara Cannon aren’t doing any back-to-school shopping this week, but they know neighbors who are. They believe the tax-free days will keep Maryland shoppers and their dollars in the state.
“In these times when a lot of people are really hurting and having trouble finding money to buy extra things, I think it’s terrific that they can save at least six percent,” Barbara Cannon said.
Everything is not tax-free. Shoppers will get a six percent sales break on things like clothes and shoes under $100. But everything else—like umbrellas, watches and even sunglasses—comes with the tax.
State lawmakers passed the tax-free days back in 2007.