‘Sales Tax Free Week’ gives families a break

The cost of everything is on the rise these days, and that’s part of what could put middle class families in a financial pinch over the next month or so as parents venture out for back-to-school shopping trips.

The other driver is state government, which hasn’t been all that family-friendly over the last two years. For one, consider the governor’s controversial hike to Connecticut’s already-high sales tax and his elimination of the sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $50.

Later this month, though, parents will have an opportunity at relief through the annual “Sales Tax Free Week” — a program I fought to keep when the governor proposed eliminating it as he crafted record tax increases in 2011.

The week-long program begins Aug. 19 and ends Aug. 25, and it applies to clothing and footwear costing less than $300 per item.

Goods not covered under the program include items such as jewelry, watches, handbags and wallets as well as items intended solely for use in sports.

Considering the state’s budget outlook and the governor’s previous attempt to abandon the program, there’s no guarantee that this week-long exemption period won’t end up on his chopping block in the future.

So, take advantage of the program this year. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to work to preserve it, and also to restore the everyday sales tax exemption on clothes under $50. Considering the price of gas, food and simply keeping the lights on, Connecticut residents need this relief — and a little more.

For additional information about the upcoming tax exemption week, visit the state’s Department of Revenue Services at ct.gov/drs.

Republican state Rep. Brenda L. Kupchick represents the 132nd Assembly District, which serves Fairfield and Southport. She can be reached at 1-800-842-1423 and has a website at Rep.Kupchick.com.

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