COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Senate made quick work of legislation extending for a third year a sales tax holiday on back-to-school purchases, passing it Feb. 22, a week after the bill's first committee hearing.
SB 9 moved on a vote of 32-1 and heads next to the Ohio House for further consideration. The law changes would have to be passed and signed into law by early May to ensure enactment in time for this year's event.
SB 9 calls for sales tax breaks on clothing and other specified purchases made on Aug. 4, 5 and 6 of this year. It would exempt sales taxes on clothing items priced up to $75 each and school supplies and instructional materials up to $20 each, whether purchased in stores or through online retailers.
The exemption would not cover computers and other electronics, sports equipment and hair accessories or higher-priced clothing and supplies.
About 17 other states have comparable sales tax holidays in place, most with limits similar to Ohio's. Ohio has offered the sales tax holiday the past two years.
A study released last year by the University of Cincinnati's Economics Center showed that initial holiday boosted sales tax collections by $4.7 million.
"Adding sales tax revenue was never the goal," Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus), a Defiance native and primary sponsor of this session's bill and past sales tax holiday legislation, said during Wednesday's session. "But, in fact, it created a lot of excitement. People go out to shop, and they buy things that aren't subject to the sales tax exemption. They buy other items in the store, they go out to eat, they go to the coffee shop, ways that provide a lot of economic stimulus."
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.