By HANNAH SWANK
KU Statehouse Wire Service
TOPEKA — In an 11-10 vote, the House Taxation Committee passed HB 2607 on Wednesday to implement a sales tax holiday and exempt sales tax from purchases of school supplies, clothing and computers.
“I’m in favor of this, simply because I think it’s something our constituents are excited about,” said Rep. Carolyn Bridges, D-Wichita. “People like to know their state Legislature is doing something that benefits them totally.”
Other legislators such as Rep. Ronald Ryckman Sr., R- Meade, opposed the bill, saying this implementation is just a gimmick.
“If we really want to cut sales tax, let’s cut sales tax. If that’s what we want to do, let’s do it all year-round,” Ryckman said. “If we really want to help a certain class of people, then help that certain class of people.”
Other raised concerns that the bill place a burden on retailers during the tax holiday and the unaffected buying habits of consumers, since evidence shows the annual spending in states with similar implementation remains the same. According to the bill’s fiscal note, the state and local revenue loss would be nearly $7 million for 2015.
To combat these issues, Rep. Julie Menghini, D- Pittsburg, proposed an amendment to bring the statute into compliance with the streamlined sales tax agreement. The amendment also changed the language to an implementation date of 2015 in order to avoid a problem with notifying retailers at least 60 days in advance of the holiday.
Rep. Don Hineman, R-Dighton, indicated how he would vote when he read documents from the Tax Foundation saying: “Sales tax holidays have enjoyed political success, but recently, policy makers are reevaluating them. Rather than providing a valuable tax cut or a boost to the economy, sales tax holidays impose serious costs on consumers and business without providing off-setting benefits. Sales tax holidays are no part of sound tax policy.”
The bill passed as amended and will move forward for consideration by the House.
Hannah Swank is a University of Kansas senior from Topeka majoring in journalism.