Needed relief

Published 11:02 am Thursday, August 6, 2009

By Staff
Every little bit helps in this economy, and that’s why North Carolina’s ninth sales-tax holiday this weekend will be welcome news for many consumers.
While it may save consumers some money because they will not have to pay sales taxes and use taxes on specific items, the three-day event will cost the state and local governments an estimated $18 million (combined) in tax revenues. About half of that amount will be lost by the state, according to Thomas Beam, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Revenue.
Although the state and local governments will lose revenue because of the sales-tax holiday, it remains a good deal for consumers, especially those with children preparing to head back to school later this summer. At a time when the unemployment rates in Beaufort County and neighboring counties remain at double-digit levels and the recession is wreaking havoc on people’s wallets and purses, saving folks some money is a good thing.
“The sales tax holiday provides a great opportunity for families to get their back to school clothing and supplies and save some money in the process,” said Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. “The tax savings combined with all the sale prices that retailers typically offer during the weekend will really make the dollar go further.”
Dalton, a 12-year member of the Senate before being elected lieutenant governor in 2008, was a primary sponsor of the 2001 bill establishing the sales-tax holiday.
Although the state, facing a significant decline in revenues, could no doubt use the $18 million in tax revenues it will lose this weekend, the sales-tax holiday provides a much-needed break to consumers.
After all, those consumers will be the ones paying more in taxes to pay for the next state budget hammered out in Raleigh this week.
At least the sales-tax holiday provides consumers some relief before the next budget with its tax increases takes effect. It may be the only relief taxpayers see for a long time.