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Tax free shopping starts Thursday
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What is exempt

• Clothing and footwear retailed at $100 or less per item, but not including accessories
• Personal computers and/or retailed accessories at $1,500 or less
• General school supplies retailed at $20 or less per item
The exemptions exclude items rented, leased, purchased by businesses, or purchased for resale.
— Georgia Department of Revenue Web site

The state’s tax-free weekend in preparation for the a new school year starts tomorrow, but some local shoppers and businesses differed on whether the savings outweigh the costs of waiting.
“We’re just getting ours now because I know that they sell out quick,” said Sandy Lascuna, mother of three school-age children. “And also we’re going on vacation this weekend, so I’m trying to get everything done before we go.”
They strolled through the Wal-Mart’s back-to-school aisles Tuesday morning.
Choosing to get supplies “now and be done,” Lascuna does not participate in Georgia’s annual sales tax holiday.
“Just because it’s just too crowded,” Lascuna said. “It’s too hectic and most of the stuff is already gone by the time you get here.”
“You got four days,” said Mattie Sheard. “You can expect that [crowds] the first couple days, but after that it’ll die down.”
And it’s still worth the hassle, said Sheard, who hopes to save at least $50 from shopping for her son, a rising senior.
“I like to get all my son’s school supplies, uniforms, save a little bit on everything,” Sheard said.
The statewide blow-out sale officially starts at midnight Thursday and goes through Sunday.
Shoppers will pay just the label price on school supplies, clothing and computers, without adding an extra 7 cents to the dollar.
Even in a tough economy, people are willing to go for the necessities.
“Not when it comes to kids…they’re still going to spend,” Sheard said.
Though no comparison to Black Friday, which kicks off the holiday shopping season just after Thanksgiving each year, increased customer foot traffic this weekend may offset lost revenue from the state-mandated tax breaks, according to Sheryl Stroud-Jones, a business instructor at Brewton-Parker College and Savannah Technical College.
“The way the economy is and the way they have furloughs going on all across Georgia, people are just in general looking for good deals,” Stroud-Jones said. “So they may be willing to go out in droves just to save on the taxes.”
And businesses are stocking their shelves.
Jackie Stewart of the School Uniform Outlet just brought in an order of 12 dozen shirts. Early-bird shoppers, coming from as far Savannah and Brunswick, started coming through the door in June. Most are from private or year-round schools and don’t wait for the annual holiday.
“Everything moves really fast and a lot of customers want to make sure,” Stewart said. “Because if they don’t they won’t find their sizes.”
Georgia is one of several states that have a similar tax-free weekend holiday.
In its eighth year, Stewart thinks the state can cut people a bigger break.
“I think because things are worse now they should make it better for them,” Stewart said. “This isn’t anything big that the state is doing because we were doing this when everybody had money.”
Her uniform store, across from Bradwell Institute, is slashing prices by another 25 percent, on top of the savings from no taxes.
Adrienne Seay was scanning Wal-Mart’s laptops with Ernie Herring Tuesday.
Seay is “just in the talking stage,” of getting a laptop and the tax-free holiday slipped her mind.
“I completely forgotten about that,” Seay said. “I know they have it every year… so, now I’ll hang tough for the tax-free weekend.”
Lascuna continued to pile her shopping cart with back-to-school supplies before the tax-free weekend, but praised the state for its efforts.
“It’s a good help because every little penny counts,” Lascuna said. “Every tax-free benefit is helpful.”
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