Bill would ease burden of back to school costs

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – To try and ease the burden of back to school costs, Midstate Sen. Mike Regan introduced a bill to make the second week of August sales tax free for school supplies.

“People nudge me and say, ‘Do something about these high tax rates. We’re getting killed. Sending our kids back to school is so expensive.’ Don’t I know it!” said Sen. Mike Regan.

Regan himself is a father of four.

According to Deloitte research, parents spend $500 per child on back to school supplies.

“You have to buy food, clothes, all their activities as they get older. Going to school is another thing,” Best Friends Daycare Director Kristen Lloyd said. “Buying supplies and clothes, packing their lunch, it all adds up.”

That’s why Sen. Regan is proposing to eliminate the sales tax for one week, the second week of August.

“School supplies, laptops, home PCs, crafts, crayons, pens, pencils, anything that has to do with going back to school would be exempt,” Regan said.

Savings for parents would be about $30 per child.

Regan isn’t worried about any negative impacts if shoppers would save because of the tax break.

“Trust me, our problem is not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem in Pennsylvania. We’ll be fine,” he said. “If you’re in a store and you’re going to save $30 on your tax break, you might buy something else or spend it on taking your family out to lunch.”

Sixteen other states offered similar tax breaks in 2016, including Maryland, Ohio and Virginia.

The bill still has to pass through committee.

Regan hopes to have a tax free week in place by August 2018, just in time for back to school shopping.

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