OUR VIEW: Georgia should consider bringing back tax-free holiday

Published 9:30 am Saturday, July 15, 2023

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Throughout the year, Alabamians travel across the Georgia state line to buy lottery tickets. That traffic is increasing right now as the Powerball jackpot soars to a dream-worthy $875 million. 

Once a year, Georgia residents return the favor, as they drive into Alabama for tax-free weekend in the Yellowhammer State. With Georgia not having a tax-free weekend — it hasn’t since 2016 — we’re guessing many Troup County residents drive over to Opelika to spend time shopping for the tax savings.

Once you factor in the gas required, we’re not sure you save that much, but if you’re driving to Newnan or Columbus anyways, a trip to Opelika while saving the taxes makes some sense. Alabama’s tax-free weekend is next weekend. It lasts from Friday, July 21, and ends at midnight on Sunday, July 23.

We understand that Georgia didn’t really see an increase in sales via its tax-free weekend, plus ultimately it cost the state tens of millions of dollars in revenue. However, we do think lawmakers should consider bringing it back.

For 72 hours or so, it allows parents to save a few extra dollars, especially at a time where everything at the grocery store is so high.

In many cases, school supply lists are frustratingly specific, and kids grow so fast that sometimes clothes purchased in May or June might not fit by August. It’s a struggle.

It’s not the state’s job to overcome these problems for parents, but any little bit helps. 

And, ultimately, we’d probably rather keep people from driving over to Alabama, Florida or Tennessee — neighboring states with tax-free weekends — to buy their school supplies. 

By the way, Florida has two tax-free, back-to-school periods, and both are two weeks long. Yes, we said weeks, not days. What is Florida doing that we can’t do in Georgia? 

Georgia should rethink this and consider bringing back the tax-free weekend for school supplies. Every penny counts, especially when gasoline and food prices are already so high.

Raising a child and sending them to school costs more in this country than ever before. Savings a few pennies on every dollar when purchasing a pair of jeans, or a laptop for college would go a long way for families.