School year start highlights tax break debate

Back-to-school tax holidays continue to be the most common.
Richard Evans, a teacher at Hyde Park Elementary School, helps Ke’Arrah Jessie sound out a word during a reading circle in class on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Shoppers in 19 states paid less for school supplies and other items during sales tax holidays this year, as state leaders continue to embrace a tax break tradition that policy analysts have long criticized.

Analysts on the left and right agree that eliminating sales taxes on certain items for a few days or weeks doesn’t spur people to buy more and can create administrative problems for businesses. They say lawmakers should rethink their sales tax instead.

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