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Ohio’s sales tax holiday will include more items, but not as much time as lawmakers wanted

This is a display of back to school crayons and markers in a store.
Gene J. Puskar
This is a display of back to school crayons and markers in a Staples in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Ohio will have an extended period this summer when sales tax won't be applied to many items. The sales tax holiday will run from July 30 through Aug. 8, and the list of qualifying purchases has been expanded. But it won’t run for two full weeks as the Ohio legislature had intended.

In the past, the sales tax holiday only applied to clothes and limited school supplies. But that didn’t cover some bigger ticket items that students needed. So lawmakers decided to expand the list of items that could be purchased tax-free. This year, most items worth $500 or less will be eligible for the sales tax holiday.

But some items will still be taxed even during the holiday. Those include cars, boats, alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana.

In last year's budget, Ohio lawmakers set aside $750 million dollars to expand the state's back-to-school three-day sales tax holiday that began in 2015. The state reimburses local governments for the sales tax holiday. But Dan Tierney, spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine, said DeWine vetoed language that prescribed a two-week time period.

“It’s going to vary from year to year. There’s going to be some years where because of economic conditions and fiscal responsibility, it might not be as long. There’s going to be other years where it might have ended up being longer,” Tierney said.

Tierney said a prescribed timeline for the sales tax holiday doesn’t allow the state to adjust it each year to ensure the tax holiday doesn’t cost more than the state can afford.

“This will allow us each year to determine the appropriate length based on economic conditions and the appropriations made in the budget bill,” Tierney said.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.