Sales tax holiday in a lean budget year

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia's back-to school sales tax holiday begins next week, but in a year where Virginia has been forced to scale back services because of declining revenue, should they be taking in every sales tax dollars they can get? It is a relatively small dent in the back to school shopping budget. 5 bucks for every $100 spent.

But the sales tax holiday costs the state 4 million dollars in a year when revenues are tight.

With the state of the economy, nobody is turning away an opportunity to save some cash.

"Every little bit helps nowadays." said Tabatha Wehrlen, Richmond shopper.

The average family is expected to spend about 8 percent less this year because of the difficult economy. But just like the tight family budget, the state's pocketbook is a lot lighter as well.

Not surprisingly, the shoppers we talked to weren't too sympathetic.

"I don't think there should be a sales tax, I think that people buy what they need based on their earnings, that is just another way of slapping another tax on income." said Patrick Ward, who was shopping at the Forest Hill Avenue.

But the state's revenue shortfalls have led to cuts in many areas, the most public of which has been the closure of rest stops along Virginia highways. With all of these cuts, why not roll back the sales tax?

Most shoppers we spoke to would like to have it both ways. They like the idea of not paying sales tax, but also think that many of these government programs that have been cut should be reinstated.

"I mean you shouldn't shut down anything, I mean people got to have rest stops man," said Kevin Newby a Richmond shopper.

The challenge of government service, the people want it all, and they aren't interested in excuses.

"I am sure there are better ways to handle it than what they are doing," said Wehrlen.

No one has suggested eliminating the sales tax holiday or the 4 million dollars in savings for consumers that comes with it.

In fact the state Department of Taxation said in a release this week that Virginia "is ready to help its citizen's save a little more."

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