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Sales tax holiday draws near

As the start of school draws closer, students and parents alike are going through the process of getting ready for what the first day of classes will bring.

That process includes getting class schedules and attending the necessary orientations, but it also includes purchasing the numerous clothing items and supplies needed for the start of the school year.

Fortunately for those students and parents, the state of Alabama will once again be giving shoppers a bit of a break in the form of the 2010 Alabama Sales Tax Holiday.

The holiday will last an entire weekend, and will run from Friday, August 6 at 12:01 a.m. until Sunday, August 8 at 12 midnight.

During this time, sales tax will be lifted on certain items. Items such as clothing items with a cost of $100 or less, computers, computer software and school computer supplies costing $750 or less, various school supplies with a cost of $50 or less and books valued at $30 or less will all be exempt from the sales tax.

The holiday is a statewide initiative, but each county and municipality is free to choose whether or not to participate.

Locally, Pike County has chosen to participate, as have Troy, Brundidge and Goshen.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Leigh Anne Windham said the tax holiday is an opportunity to help bolster the local economy.

“These tax-free shopping days are great for our local consumers, retailers and economy,” Windham said. “I encourage our community to shop local during the tax free holiday season.”

In addition to bolstering the local economy, efforts such as the tax holiday can also bolster the statewide economy, thanks in large part to the positive impact it can have on small businesses.

“Sales tax holidays are great for families trying to stretch a dollar, but they’re also great for small businesses,” said Rosemary Elebash, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “They get people excited and in the mood to shop, and that’s exactly what our economy needs right now. Small business is the engine that drives Alabama’s economy. The bottom line is that the more we can increase consumer spending at our small businesses, the more jobs we save, and the faster our economy will recover.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for about 97 percent of all employers in the state and employ about half of Alabama’s private workforce.