MacIver News Service

By M.D. Kittle 

MADISON  – Nothing says “school supplies” like a garter belt and a cummerbund. 

Of course the beginning of the school year just wouldn’t be the same without rubber pants and girdles.

Billed in large part as a tax break for the back-to-school crowd, Wisconsin’s inaugural sales tax holiday opens Wednesday with tax savings on retail items that would seem to have little to do with school. 

But why look a gift horse in the mouth? Any time lawmakers deliver a tax break on anything is reason to rejoice. 

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the tax exemption late last session, along with legislation that delivered a $100-per-child tax rebate to Wisconsin families. Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law in April. 

Democrats and Walker critics have labeled the tax breaks an election year gimmick, but they are just the latest in a long line of $8 billion-plus in tax relief the governor and fellow Republicans have delivered over the past seven and a half years. 

“Our Back-to School Sales Tax Holiday is another way we are providing relief to Wisconsin’s hardworking families,” Walker said while visiting retailers around the state Monday and reminding shoppers to take advantage of the sales tax holiday running Aug. 1-5. 

Over the period, the state’s 5 percent sales tax will not be charged on eligible school-related and clothing items priced at $75 or less. Computers at $750 or less and computer supplies at $250 or less also will be sales-tax free during the holiday. 

“As parents, Tonette and I know school supplies can really add up. Combining the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday with our $100-Per-Child Tax Rebate can help families across Wisconsin offset some of those costs. Every little bit helps, in fact, Tonette and I wish we had this when we were raising our two sons!”

Of course, the average school-aged kid isn’t heading back to class in need of a wedding gown or a tuxedo. For reasons not entirely clear, wedding apparel makes the list of items enjoying a tax exemption over the holiday. So do baby clothes, baby receiving blankets and diapers. And formal wear. 

Meanwhile, some school art supplies, textbooks, and workbooks don’t make the exemption cut.

But all kinds of clothing, crayons, pencils and notebooks are tax-free. 

Find the complete list of tax-exempt items here.


[avatar user=”M. D. Kittle” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” /]M.D. Kittle is an Investigative Reporter with the MacIver Institute. This article appears courtesy of the MacIver Institute.


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