Tax holiday proposal comes to Ohio

Amy Szabo

Ohio legislators may consider a sales tax holiday for the state.

Bill Johnson, founder of the Ohio Sales Tax Reform Incentive, which is pushing the idea in the state Legislature, said the holiday will help everyone.

“Not only will this help the taxpayers, but this will also help people who want to buy school supplies, books or computers for other reasons than school,” Johnson said.

Either way he looked at it, Johnson said the state wins.

States with August tax holidays implemented State, days it lasts, year implemented:

Alabama, 3, 2006

Connecticut, 7, 2001

Georgia, 4, 2004

Iowa, 2, 2000

Louisiana, 2, 2007

Mississippi, 2, 2009

Missouri, 3, 2004

New Mexico, 3, 2005

North Carolina, 3, 2001

Oklahoma, 3, 2007

South Carolina, 3, 2000

Tennessee, 3, 2006

Texas, 3, 1999

Vermont, 1, 2008

Virginia, 3, 2006

Source: The Federation of Tax Administrators (

Seventeen states already have a tax holiday, which are days aside in the year where sales taxes on certain items are revoked.

“Just about every other state we have talked to who have a tax holiday have seen an increase in tax revenue,” Johnson said. “And some of them don’t even have income taxes.”

The soon-to-be bill, in the process of being written, places the tax holiday on the first full weekend in August. Sales tax would be exempted on sporting goods, school supplies, computers and clothes for back-to-school shopping.

Johnson said the bill is also aiming to put a sales tax exemption on Ohio-made products “to encourage and reward manufacturers (that) come to Ohio.”

The bill also may include another tax holiday in December. This holiday would be for back-to-school shoppers after the holiday season, as well as Christmas shoppers.

“Kids can’t wear the same clothes they wore in September,” Johnson explained. “They outgrow clothes in just those three months.”

Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito said the idea of a tax holiday for Ohio would have no effect on Kent or Ravenna.

Esposito said that because Kent and Ravenna don’t have a sales tax, the tax holiday would do nothing. Although she agreed that it would affect Portage County as a whole, she didn’t know the details of the tax holiday.

“It’s a great idea,” Esposito said, “but the mechanics could be horrendous.”

Amending the law to change over to the new system would cost taxpayers, she said.

Esposito said she liked the idea of a tax holiday and the fact that it will help people in these difficult economic times.

Contact public affairs reporter Amy Szabo at [email protected]