More Tax Free Back to School Shopping Days A Possibility

TALLAHASSEE - Florida parents look forward to the tax free back to school shopping days every year. The past few years it's only been for three days, but if Governor Rick Scott has it his way, you'll get an extra week.

There is support for the push, but economists are concerned there are ulterior motives.

During Florida's back to school tax-free holiday retailers see a 30% to 40% increase in shoppers over three days.

"They spend a lot of money marketing just because they know that people are going to be out shopping," said John Flemming of the Florida Retail Federation.

Governor Rick Scott is pushing to add seven more days to the tax-free holiday. Retailers say if the holiday is extended, jobs will be created

"Retailers, when they get ready for this, they staff up. They could add as much as 20 to 30 percent staff just for that weekend," said Flemming.

"It's interesting that he proposed a 10 day sales tax holiday this year when it has been shorter in the past," said FSU Professor of Economics, Randall Holcombe.

Political or not, Randall Holcombe says the extended tax-free holiday will benefit most.

"It would be nice to see a permanent tax cut, but I think you will see a bit of a pickup in business, and of course consumer benefit," said Holcombe.

The Florida Retail Federation says brick and mortar stores are better able to compete with online stores when not collecting a sales tax.

"Those who are selling in tend to avoid Florida sales and use tax, whereas brick and mortar have to collect," said Robert Weissert of the Florida TaxWatch.

In a 2010 economic impact study - Florida retailers increase sales by 293-million dollars in the three day time span. The figure includes a 115-million increase in taxable sales.


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