Someone is always around to spoil the party, but those who protest the annual sales-tax free weekend in Texas as students prepare to return to class are becoming less vocal as time passes. They probably realize that this horse has already left the barn ó in 1999.

Shoppers have embraced the three-day grace period from state and local sales taxes on a host of items. Most of the tax-exempt items can be used by school children, but buyers donít need a student ID to participate. Adults are eligible for the reduction as well.

Getting back to those who would try the ruin the party, itís true that many stores conduct sales that provide savings two or three times the approximately 8 percent sales tax on any given weekend of the year. Itís true that the lost revenue has to be made up somewhere by local governments and the state. Itís true that the people who figure to save the most are not lower-income residents, but those with the cash or credit to stock up. But itís true that hundreds of thousands of Texas shoppers wait until this tax-free weekend arrives to make their back-to-school purchases, regardless.

The shoppers like it, the retailers like it and governments by now have factored whatever revenue they do lose as a result into their budgets.

The big weekend has arrived, and for some, itís as big as the Thanksgiving shopping spree. So make your lists, and hit the stores while the selections are best.

Brownwood Bulletin