Daily Court Reporter - News Sales-tax holiday bill enacted with aid of allowance for school levy for security expenditures
Sales-tax holiday bill enacted with aid of allowance for school levy for security expenditures
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
A term-limited state senator has successfully placed Ohio’s wildly popular sales-tax holiday on the books permanently.
The measure’s passage may have been helped by a timely amendment last month that would allow county education service centers to levy a property tax specifically to fund school safety, security and mental health services in light of the highly publicized school shooting in Parkland, Fla., earlier this year.
Sen. Kevin Bacon’s Senate Bill 226 already had cleared a full vote by the Ohio Senate at the time the amendment was added during House Ways and Means Committee members’ fourth hearing of the measure.
The Westerville Republican, who faces a primary election next month for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District seat vacated by the retiring Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi, noted the tax holiday’s success over the past three years.
“Ohio’s Sales Tax Holiday proved to be a win-win for parents, students and businesses alike,” Bacon said. “It’s important that we permanently extend this savings event to ensure families benefit for years to come.”
Enacted, SB 226 will require all online and in-store vendors to waive the collection of local and state sales taxes on designated items during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August.
Savings would apply to items of clothing priced at $75 or less, commonly used school supplies — crayons, book bags, pencils, etc. — priced at $20 or less, and school instructional materials like textbooks and workbooks priced at $20 or less.
Price limits apply per item, so consumers can buy as many tax-exempt items under the price limit as they wish, either online or in stores, the bill detailed.
“A little bit of financial relief for parents as they prepare their kids for the new school year has proven to be both effective and appreciated by Ohio families,” the lawmaker said. “The opportunity to save on essential clothing and school items reduces some of the strain on consumers and boosts sales for local businesses.”
The Buckeye State was one of 17 states to host a sales tax holiday last year. The average family with school-age children planned to spend an estimated $673 on back-to-school supplies and clothing in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation.
According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s fiscal analysis of the bill, the state sales tax break will yield a $16.3 million loss in general revenue funds in Fiscal Year 2020.
The figure translates to about a $.5 million loss to the Local Government and Public Library Fund and a $4 million loss to counties and transit authorities for the same period.
As for the school safety provision of the bill, SB 226 specifies that an identified purposes of a tax levy may be fore the financing of school safety, security and mental health services, including employing or contracting for the services of safety or mental health personnel, social workers or counselors.
Like other specified educational program levies, a safety, security, or mental health services levy may be for up to 10 years or a continuing period of time, the OLSC wrote.
S.B. 226 also included an emergency clause to permit educational service centers to submit levies to electors as soon as possible, allowing the bill to become effect immediately upon passage and the governor’s signature.
The bill passed each house with less than five votes against the measure.
Date Published: April 25, 2018