Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

July 9, 2014

Planning school spending

VALDOSTA — It’s a little less than a month before school starts, but frugal parents may wish to plan now for the scheduled sales tax holiday.

For starters, at least for Valdosta and Lowndes County families, the sales tax holiday is scheduled prior to the start of school this year. The sales tax holiday is scheduled for Aug. 1-2. City and county schools are both set to resume classes on Aug. 7.

In past years, the sales tax holidays have been scheduled after many area schools have already opened their doors and started classes. This means that many families had already purchased school supplies such as books, pencils, pens, book bags, and back-to-school clothes prior to the sales tax holiday. So, despite the state’s good intentions to save families money on education-related purchases, the holiday was relatively ineffectual where schools were already in session.

For years, The Times has supported the tax-free holiday. The Times has also advocated scheduling it sooner. So, while scheduling it earlier is appreciated, the sales tax holiday still cuts it close.

In an era when many schools send supply lists home weeks prior to the start of school, with back-to-school sales about to start any day now, it seems the sales tax holiday could be scheduled a week or two earlier in late July.

There’s no perfect answer. School systems start classes at different times throughout the state and even the region. School seems to start earlier each summer — the dates of the sales tax holiday should reflect this scheduling shift.

Of course, the year when the sales tax holiday is scheduled for the weeks leading to the start of school will be when schools start handing out supply lists after classes resume.

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