Wisconsin Considers Sales Tax Holiday

Jan 8, 2014

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A bill in the Legislature would drop the sales tax for two weeks - one in August, when families school shop, the other in November, touching the holiday rush.

Republican Assemblyman Chad Weininger is one of the sponsors. “Let’s face it – family dollars aren’t stretching as far as they used to and with rising costs taking a larger bite out of people’s paychecks, this tax break will be a welcome relief for many Wisconsin families.”

Some big retailers are also lobbying for the holiday including Wal-Mart and Apple. Frank Julien of Macy’s Stores lobbied a committee of legislators Tuesday. “If Wisconsin were to enact a sales tax holiday, it would join Iowa as the only states in this region with such a holiday. Our experience shows that this would encourage customers from surrounding states to shop in Wisconsin during a holiday.”

The other piece of information lawmakers must consider – the state Revenue Dept. estimates the plan could cost Wisconsin $14.5 million in lost revenue.

Last year, 18 states enacted sales tax holidays.

While no one testified against the bill Tuesday, several lawmakers wondered aloud if consumers would simply shift their shopping days, why shoppers from neighboring states don't already come to Wisconsin because its sales tax is lower than many surrounding regions and if Wisconsin would be better off lowering its sales tax from five to four percent.