Why no sales tax holiday this year? - CBS46 News

Why no sales tax holiday this year?

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

CBS46 is challenging Georgia lawmakers about why they didn't approve a sales tax holiday this year.

Many families rely on the sales tax holiday and many stores look forward to it. But we wanted to know who it really benefits. 

When asked about the holiday, Chairman of the State Appropriations Committee Jack Hill said, "I have nothing to do with it."

The committee helps allocate money in the state budget recommended by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Families love getting a break in not paying sales tax, but is it really the big deal you think it is? The Georgia Retail Federation, which represents big-box chains and mom-and-pop shops, thinks so.

"We see that as an advantage, and is well-needed for families who are struggling," says James Miller, communications director with the Georgia Retail Federation.

Shop owners seem to like it.

"What we found out by consumers is that when consumers save that money, they go in and buy secondary items that they may not have bought originally," says Miller.

"Low income people don't participate the same way as middle and upper income people in the sales tax holiday," says Dr. David Sjoquist, an economics professor at Georgia State University. 

Sjoquist says struggling families have limited cash flow, so he says studies have shown they're not buying more, overall. They're just buying earlier, or later, to coincide with the sales tax holiday.

In our search for answers, we found State Senator Mike Dugan, who was willing to sit down and speak with us on camera. 

"It goes into the general fund...typically, education gets, by far, the majority of the spending in the state," says Dugan.

Sjoquist says economists estimate the state tends to lose 8-10 percent of sales tax collections during sales tax holiday months.

"It may not be a huge deal when we're looking at it numbers-wise," says Dugan. "But it's a huge deal to somebody."

When I asked Hill where the money was going, he said, "I have a meeting at 2."

Hill did get back to us and referred us to State Senator Hufstetler. He said they hope the money goes toward paying for teacher's raises, but nothing in the state constitution guarantees that, or specifies that.

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