Tax-free holiday may be extended to two weeks

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Here’s a great idea: extend the tax-free holiday from three days to two weeks:

Texans who cram in as much shopping as possible during the annual sales tax holiday each August may be able to spread their money-saving routine over two weeks.

Houston Democratic Sens. Rodney Ellis and Mario Gallegos have filed a bill to extend the tax-free period from three days to 14.

Another bill filed by Ellis, Gallegos and Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, would add school supplies to the tax-free umbrella.


But no matter what is included in the exemption, Strayhorn said extending the holiday would control the crowds of people who now rush to stores during the three days.

“Right now, you have a traffic jam in places like Houston and you have merchants and folks who are working around the clock,” she said. “It’s hard on people who are working to shop during that time. This would be customer and consumer friendly.”

Strayhorn isn’t kidding about those lines. It takes careful planning and coordination to get what you need, and survive the crowds and lines, especially with kids in tow.

Of course, there’s a party-pooper:

But some say extending the holiday to two weeks could cost cities and the state too much revenue.

“We’re not terribly excited about it,” said Texas Municipal League Executive Director Frank Sturzl. “In a three-day period, it’s very hard to prove there is a loss at all, but two weeks is a whole different story because lots of people are going to do lots of shopping during that time.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Texas Municipal League isn’t generally in favor of tax breaks or cuts that might take revenue away from cities or the state. Hopefully legislators will ignore the TML and show a little love to the citizenry.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.