Back-to-school bargains with tax holidayPublished 8:39pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Amid the mid-afternoon back-to-school flurry at Suffolk’s North Main Street Walmart, an eagle-eyed mother does her best to keep her three young children in check.
Devin, Justus and Kirsten Bisconer, respectively aged 3, 7 and 6, have discovered a center-aisle bin overflowing with spiral-bound notebooks — like their mom uses — and the temptation to riffle is too hard to resist.
“I’ve stopped here because it’s 17 cents for these notebooks, and the kids have been asking for notebooks because I write down my schedule in one,” says mom Robbin Bisconner.
The military family is new to the Suffolk school district this year, she explains, after moving from Washington state.
The children’s father is stationed in Korea in the Army, and it’s clear the summer has been a juggling act.
“We already bought their backpacks,” Bisconer says. “My husband bought those a few weeks ago, ordered them online, and Walmart is probably where we’ll get the rest of it.”
Like so many others in the store Tuesday, Bisconer was loading up a cart ahead of a three-day state back-to-school supplies tax holiday.
But she says she’ll be back when it starts — outfitting three children for a new school year after an interstate move requires more than some online shopping and a single trip to Walmart.
From Friday through Sunday, school supplies costing $20 or less each and clothing items and footwear priced at $100 or less each will not be subject to Virginia’s 5-percent state sales tax.
The list of items covered includes pens, pencils, loose-leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, dresses, jeans and T-shirts.
“Of the Commonwealth’s three sales tax holidays, this is the most popular because it helps parents around the state save money while purchasing essential school supplies, clothing and shoes to help their children have a successful year at school,” Gov. Bob McDonnell stated in a press release.
“But it’s also important to remember that you don’t have to be going back to school to take advantage of these savings. Who doesn’t want to save money on office supplies and summer clothes?”
Tiffany Hoagland, a shift manager at the Walmart, said laptops, printers, stationery, composition notebooks and pens and pencils are generally the hot items during the tax holiday.
“It’s always busier than normal because we have all of our electrical (products) tax-free, and certain items of stationery” in addition to the state-mandated tax-free items, “to help out parents,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Suffolk Office on Youth and the Suffolk Substance Abuse and Youth Council are partnering on a back-to-school supplies drive through Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Items can be left at:
- The Suffolk Parks and Recreation Administration Offices, 134 S. 6th St.
- East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. 6th St.
- Booker T. Washington Recreation Center, 204 Walnut St.
- Creekside Recreation Center, 1000 Bennetts Creek Park Road
- Mack Benn Jr. Recreation Center, 1253 Nansemond Parkway
- Northern Shores Recreation Center, 6701 Respass Beach Road
- Oakland Recreation Center, 5505 Godwin Blvd.
- Suffolk Municipal Building, Media and Community Relations Department, 441 Market St., second floor, Suite 205
- Cypress Park and Pool, 2001 Arizona Ave.
- Suffolk Art Gallery, 118 Bosley Ave.
According to a city press release, most in demand are backpacks, colored pencils, index cards, scientific calculators, sheet protectors, glue sticks, construction paper, three- and five-subject notebooks, highlighters, black or blue ballpoint pens, rulers, notebook paper (college ruled), combination locks, jump drives, dividers, markers, pocket folders, mechanical pencils and two- and three-inch binders.
Donations will also be collected at the TGIF concert at Bennett’s Creek Park, 3000 Bennetts Creek Park Road, on Aug. 3.
The collected supplies will handed out at the 2012 Suffolk Teen Summit, set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Suffolk Riverfront Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center on East Constance Road.