Tax holiday is a great idea

Published 8:35 pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

A good bargain can be hard to come by and dear to the person who finds it. That’s why folks who are shopping for back-to-school items for their children should head out this weekend to take advantage of the commonwealth’s tax-free shopping days associated with school supplies.

The list of items covered in the tax holiday includes pens, pencils, loose-leaf ruled notebook paper, scissors, binders, backpacks, construction paper, sneakers, dresses, jeans and T-shirts. For most families, those things won’t add up to enough money that they’ll result in big savings at five cents on the dollar. For those with multiple children — and especially those, for instance, with multiple children who need new back-to-school wardrobes — the savings can add up quickly.

In this age of goods manufactured by Chinese laborers working for almost no wages, many school supplies already are a bargain compared to what they once cost. Spiral-bound notebooks, that staple of classrooms from primary school through college, can cost less than 20 cents each if you buy them at the right time of year and do not mind supporting the economy of China. Pencils and pens and glue and many other such supplies can be had at similarly low prices in the weeks before school starts.

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Either way, though, a bargain is a bargain. Savings are savings. And, especially in this economy, saving even a little off the back-to-school bill will help families make ends meet.

Virginia’s back-to-school tax holiday is the most popular of the three held each year, according to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office. The idea is one of the smartest to come out of Richmond in a very long time. Take advantage of it while you can, as the taxes have been rolled back only through Sunday.