Today through Sunday at midnight, everyone shopping in Georgia will benefit from the initiative of one man.

For four days, the state is enjoying a sales tax holiday, where all state and local sales taxes are suspended on exempt items of clothing, footwear, computers and accessories, as well as school supplies.

This is the third year for the popular back-to-school shopping holiday, with the state leaders recognizing that any loss of revenue is balanced by helping those who need it the most -- families with school-age children.

And all of this is due to Valdosta's own Belks' store manager M.F. "Bubba" Campbell. In 1999, Campbell realized that his store and many others were losing customers to Florida during their tax-free shopping days. He took the opportunity to speak to state Sen. Tim Golden, D-Valdosta, about it one day while he and his family were shopping. Golden got the ball rolling in the Senate, and state Rep. Ron Borders, D-Valdosta, spearheaded the House side of the equation.

It took until 2002 to get the bill passed, but the legislative delegation, which also includes state Rep. Jay Shaw, D-Lakeland, and state Rep. Ellis Black, D-Clyattville, kept the issue in the forefront until it did.

In accepting the Chamber's award as this year's Champion of Business, Campbell pointed out that this bill passed, not only because of the delegation's persistence, but also because one man had the courage to approach a state senator and ask for help.

Thanks to his initiative, not only do the retailers benefit from keeping customers in the state to shop, schoolchildren and their families all across Georgia may be able to afford some back-to-school items they might not have been able to otherwise.

Bubba, Georgia says thank you.

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