W.Va. Gov. Wise promotes sales tax holiday plan

January 31, 2002

W.Va. Gov. Wise promotes sales tax holiday plan

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise paid a visit to the Martinsburg Mall Wednesday afternoon to promote his idea of a "tax holiday" for parents buying back-to-school merchandise for their children.


Wise is asking the Legislature for permission to lift the state's 6 percent sales tax on clothing, shoes and school supplies on the first weekend in August.

The tax break would be limited to items costing less than $100.

The tax break not only would help parents save money on one of the most expensive shopping trips they make each year, but it could spur retail sales, Wise said.

The governor said the tax break would draw more customers to stores, especially those from neighboring states.

Standing inside the mall, Wise used a chart to show how much the tax holiday could help a family buying back-to-school supplies for a child. Wise used an example of the family buying a pair of shoes, a shirt, short pants, long pants, T-shirts and socks for a total of $200.87.


The sales tax that would not be added to the bill would amount to $12.06, Wise said.

"Most families in West Virginia are buying for more than one child, so the savings can quickly mount up," said Wise.

Wise said state tax officials have told him the three-day tax holiday would cost the state about $1 million. Wise said he thinks the $1 million will be offset by added sales.

Wise said he is considering extending the tax break to the purchase of computers. While West Virginia's public schools have made great strides in incorporating computers into classroom instruction, West Virginia lags behind many states in the number of computers in homes, he said.

Wise promoted his tax holiday during appearances at the mall and the Charleston Department Store in Charleston, W.Va.

During his trip to the Eastern Panhandle, Wise also visited the Quad/Graphics plant west of Martinsburg and the Royal Vendors plant in Bardane, W.Va.

Wise said he tries to visit major employers in the state as often as he can to make sure they have everything they need to operate effectively.

Quad/Graphics printing factory is gearing up to print National Geographic magazine. Royal Vendors makes soft drink vending machines. The plants employ roughly 1,000 people each.

Wise was expected to be at Musselman High School near Bunker Hill, W.Va., Wednesday evening to participate in a public forum to help high school students learn what types of financial aid are available to them for college.

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