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Ohio lawmakers debate "back to school" sales tax holiday

Ohio lawmakers debate

(Columbus) - Back to school shopping is big business for retailers, but one Ohio retail group thinks they could be boosted by a sales tax holiday.

The National Retail Federation estimates that families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. Total spending on back-to-school is expected to reach $26.7 billion.

"Many sales are done this time of year so consumers can save a buck or two as they buy items as their kids are returning to school," said Gordon Gough with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.

Gough believes a sales tax holiday on back-to-school items like clothing, shoes and classroom supplies would actually attract more people to stores and lead to more buying.

"Consumers will make more purchases and help the state's bottom line," he said.

In 2012, the Ohio Department of Taxation reported a sales tax income of $366.6 million from clothing stores alone.

State lawmakers would have to approve any sales tax holiday. Gough is calling for all sales tax, including local sales tax, to be suspended during one weekend in August. Traditionally the idea has been opposed by the Ohio Department of Taxation.

"We think it's a great idea. It's been successful in other states and would be a good opportunity for Ohio and Ohio's consumers," Gough said.

According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, 17 states currently have back to school sales tax holidays in the U.S.

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