I have many friends and family anxiously awaiting this weekend to go shopping. Why? It’s the annual SC (and NC too) tax free holiday weekend. Anybody and everybody can purchase certain items over the three-day weekend that begins this Friday at 12:01AM and lasts until 11:59PM Sunday. The bonus and reason for celebration is that many purchases can be made without having to pay taxes. This government sanctioned tax free holiday puts into question the centuries old infamous Thomas Jefferson quote:
…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
And you thought taxes were non-negotiable! Taxes are a sore issue with many citizens, including educators. And they have been for eons–remember the Boston Tea Party? Consider even the Tea Parties of today, which are radically different in their issue focus, but no less the dramatic.
Spend, Spend, Spend and Save, Save, Save–NOT
South Carolina citizens stand to save on their spending, and stores all around are advertising, no, I mean more like campaigning for our patronage and spending like mad for the entire weekend. My mailbox today was slam full of promises of sales and extended hours–all junk mail that fills landfills. Mine went straight to the recycle bin, and I did not even look at them. What’s odd is that Tuesday is not the normal day for this kind of mail–but for the tax free shopping holiday looming this weekend.
Educators PLEASE Boycott this holiday!
I myself plan to boycott all items listed as tax exempt this weekend. Yes, I am shooting myself in the foot, opting to buy these items when there is an added cost via taxes. Why? When our state elected to change the way public education is funded (Act 388) there was a definite shift in how schools are funded. Tax breaks and caps on property taxes were set, and no longer do schools get major funding from property taxes. To offset this change, our citizens voted for the proposed sales tax addition, with the false assumption that it would adequately balance out the loss of funding from property taxes. We have been under this legislation for a few short years. When the concept was sold to our citizens by politicians up for election, everyone saw a reduction in taxes, and it easily passed into law and got many politicians elected/re-elected.
Did we shoot ourselves in the foot?
What many educators failed to realize was that our gravy train was taking a hit financially that wouldn’t be realized until the economy nosedived, tanked, and the economy suffered a deficit of spending. That deficit in spending translated into significantly less sales tax to assist public schools (just to name one sector funded by the state.) Now the first few years of the tax free holiday the general mood was that the economy would recover or bounce back, but my friends, we all know that did not happen. Many public schools and state funded service orientated agencies (police, fire, etc.) had to make difficult and devastating decisions regarding their dwindling budgets (and reserves if there were any.) I know many educators who have had their positions cut or have suffered furlough days (including myself) to help their districts balance a budget.
For these reasons, I promise all educators and state agency workers whose funding comes from the state in South Carolina that I will not benefit from this ridiculous holiday that quite literally steals money that we so desperately need. I’m sure there are many educators out there that will shop until they drop this weekend, but I tell you the only real winner in this tax free holiday is the businesses who will have as many shoppers as they have on the infamous day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and will make a ton of money off customers–many who if it were not for a tax free holiday in all likelihood would not even grace the doors of the malls or department stores.
I’m Staying Home!
So you will not see me out shopping this weekend. Instead you will find me at home, waiting until Monday when I can and will gladly shop, happily paying my added taxes as I know I will in the long run benefit. To any educators and other public servant oriented workers who opt to shop and benefit from this IMHO ridiculous tax free holiday, I want to personally thank you for kicking our budgets and funding sources right to the curb. If you shop this weekend, do not whine about budget cuts, job losses, or furlough days. You deserve them.
Want to Educate yourself about the holiday SC celebrates?
‘File:Boston Tea Party Currier colored’
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_Tea_Party_Currier_colored.jpg
‘Sale In A Sale Shop Selling Sale+Signs’