Tax-free holiday starts today

Published 8:34 pm Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spending money is probably something many Pike County residents are trying to avoid. But, this won’t be the weekend to avoid it.

All Pike County businesses will participate in the statewide sales tax free weekend, giving locals a little financial break.

Starting at midnight Friday through midnight Sunday, residents will be able to purchase non-food items like school supplies, books, computers and clothing without the state and local sales tax added on.

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The state of Alabama will waive its 4-percent sales tax, but Pike County’s local taxes will be lifted for the weekend, as well.

“Any business that has the items included in the sales tax holiday — clothing, computers, school supplies — will be participating,” said Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner.

Barner said the sales tax holiday gives businesses a good idea of just when back to school shoppers will come.

“It helps the businesses know when they will most likely be hit by all the back-to-school shoppers,” Barner said. “That way they can plan for maybe a larger percent off these items and make a bigger impact.”

Not only will stores have tax free sales, many will offer additional sales.

“We’re having a lot of basic school supplies 50 percent off on top of the no tax,” said Carrie Aaron, store manager of Dollar General in Brundidge.

Peebles in Troy will also offer some back-to-school sales on purchases this weekend.

“We had coupons mailed out to our customers, but they can also go to and print the same ones off,” said Tabitha Helms, Peebles assistant manager.

Both Helms and Aaron said their stores have seen big crowds on sales tax weekend in the past.

“Last year we had a huge turnout,” Helms said. “It was almost like Christmas.”

And while Helms said it may be hard to top the crowd last year, she is hopeful the economy won’t keep people away.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to top last year with the way the economy is, but we’re hoping to have a big turnout,” Helms said.

With extra incentives, Barner said both businesses and consumers both should see extra benefits, particularly in hard economic times.

“Given the way the economy is right now, everyone can use whatever breaks they can get, and giving the customer incentives like percentages off on top of the tax break is good business,” Barner said. “For businesses, they can use this time to promote other items and hopefully get some repeat business with new customers.”

Local governments, who benefit from sales tax revenues, have discussed significant declines in that income in the last months. But, Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said this weekend is important for shopping locally, even if that revenue won’t be collected by the city.

“We’re very happy from the merchant’s standpoint that their sales should increase dramatically,” Lunsford said. “And hopefully, they’ll continue to sell when the sales tax holiday is not in place.”

Barner said the sales tax holiday is just as important to emphasize something the chamber promotes year-round — shop at home.

“The tax holiday is a good reminder that we all should shop here and keep our local economy viable,” Barner said. “We are a strong county, we have great people here and a great quality of life, good infrastructure and keeping our dollars here just makes sense.”