Virginia parents could use a tax break, too

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

What a shame that Virginia residents in Suffolk and surrounding areas close enough to North Carolina must cross the state line to benefit from the ‘Sales Tax Free Weekend&uot; that begins Friday through Sunday.

In North Carolina annually, school supplies and some larger ticket items like computers can be purchased minus the sales tax. Many parents and adult students preparing for the back-to-school shopping rush could really use the break given the rapidly changing economy, and the rising cost of everything.

On average, many families spend as much as $400 or more per child preparing them to return to school halls. As the lists grow longer every year for must-have school supplies, it would definitely be a benefit to residents and the local economy if sales taxes could be avoided for just one weekend.

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North Carolina certainly wasn’t asleep at the wheel when it realized that this could even entice shoppers who normally wouldn’t travel to the state. Consequently, if out-of-state shoppers like what they see, North Carolina can bank on return trips –and some sales tax revenue.

Virginia should consider following North Carolina’s lead with this tax-free initiative. Giving young struggling families a break on state-required purchases makes as much sense as giving senior citizens breaks on property taxes or heating and cooling bills. Plus, it would drive additional people to our state and bolster our tax base in the long run.

&uot;Virginia is for Lovers,&uot; as our state campaign hypes, but North Carolina will be the object of affection for some Virginians this weekend.