Senator Jay Paul Gumm said this year's agreement includes four specific tax cuts-none of which are more important than a proposal he authored for a “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday.
“Because a ‘Back-to-School' sales tax holiday was included in this year's agreement, Oklahoma families will no longer have to travel to Texas to save money on school clothes,” Gumm said. “We all will be able to keep our back-to-school dollars in our hometowns with our hometown merchants.”
Gumm said the Oklahoma version would be for the same days and the same items as the Texas holiday, but more importantly the bill will hold counties and cities harmless by reimbursing them for any revenue lost as a result of the tax free shopping weekend. He also pointed to revenue figures from both Texas and Missouri as evidence that a sales tax holiday actually boost local economies during the tax free shopping weekend, so he is confident the financial impact will be minimal.
“The fact is in both Texas and Missouri, local revenues held steady or increased because of greater retail activity during the sales tax holidays,” he said. “By keeping thousands of Oklahomans at home, we stand an even better chance to grow Oklahoma's retail economy, which would primarily benefit cities that depend on sales taxes.”
Gumm said when Oklahomans go to Texas, they complete their shopping lists, have a meal, see a movie or even spend the night, draining the Oklahoma economy of even more dollars.
“It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that money spent by Oklahomans in Texas never ends up in Oklahoma municipal coffers or in local Oklahoma economies,” he said. “Keeping shoppers at home that weekend will mean more money for cities that depend on sales tax revenue.”
Gumm, whose district borders Texas, explained a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday is critical for Oklahoma retailers who find themselves at a competitive disadvantage during Texas sales tax holiday weekend.
“Some Oklahoma retailers have taken to absorbing the cost of sales taxes in an effort to compete,” the Senator said. “That simply is not right for our small business community-a community that serves as the backbone of the Oklahoma economy.”