The stateís annual tax-free weekend is here, and it probably will prove more popular than ever. A tight economy with budgets stressed because of higher prices gasoline for gasoline, food and just about everything else will make the three-day break from state and local sales taxes on many items needed as schools prepare to open even more attractive. In addition, the state continues to exempt an expanded list of items.

The tax breaks generally covers most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which in most cities will represent a savings of about $8 on every $100 spent. The weekend is a tradition buying time for families with students heading back-to-school, but the list of exemptions is broad enough to include everything from diapers to uniforms. So you donít have to be enrolling for classes in order to take advantage of the savings. A complete list is available on the Web from the Texas comptrollerís office at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html.

This is the 10th year for Texas to observe the tax-free weekend in the month school starts, but shoppers shouldnít take it for granted. Budgets are beginning to get tight for many state governments too, and Florida has decided not to hold its traditional tax-free weekend this year.

Fortunately, Texas is moving in the opposite direction economically. State sales tax net collections deposited to general revenue in Texas totaled $1,867.0 million in July 2008. Compared with the $1,690.9 million collected in July 2007, this represents an increase of 10.4 percent.

The discount shoppers enjoy on sales taxes is often multiplied by even steeper price cuts retailers offer at this time of year. They realize that buyers will be combing the competition for the best bargains, and they want your business. This weekend, more than any other, is the time to buy.

Brownwood Bulletin