LAURINBURG — As South Carolina prepares for its annual Sales Tax Holiday Weekend, North Carolina goes on its fifth year without the back-to-school shopping option.
The tax-free weekend was something many people looked forward to, with sales tax as well as local taxes being exempt from many back to school items. But in 2013 North Carolina decided to end the annual holiday. The claim was that it cost the state $13 million in revenue and lawmakers created a tax reform bill against it.
South Carolina, however, has continued with the annual weekend since it started in the early 2000s — and now it attracts many shoppers from North Carolina. The weekend offers tax exemptions for clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes, bath towels, blankets, bedspreads, school supplies, book-bags, and computers.
The weekend begins on Friday and goes through Sunday.
Out of all 50 states there are only 16 that participate in the holiday, including fellow southern states Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.
According to the South Carolina Department of Revenue, its estimated between $2 million and $3 million were saved by shoppers during the holiday weekend.
While Florence, S.C., is only 55 miles away and the tax-free weekend can seem tempting, people are encouraged to stay and shop local.
Chris English, the executive director for the Laurinburg/Scotland County Chamber of Commerce, encourages people to stay local and explained that, for every dollar spent, 70 cents stays in the county and for every $100 spent $75 stays in the county.
“When you shop local it not only supports local businesses but also help support the city and county services,” English said. “Every time you go up the road to spend your money you take it from the area.”
English also explained that by shopping local the sales bump up sales tax, which brings in even more businesses to the area. He also encouraged people to look at the Chamber and see the options they have for buying and shopping locally, including a Chamber gift certificate. The gift certificate can be used at any of the participating chamber businesses and works just like cash or a gift card.
So instead of driving the 55 miles to Florence for tax-free weekend, English urges folks to save the gas and stay local to keep the money in the area instead of taking it elsewhere.
The Exchange tried to contact the Laurinburg Walmart to see if there is a dip in sales during the tax-free weekend due to people traveling to South Carolina but there was no word back.
Katelin Gandee can be reached at 910-506-3171 or [email protected]
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or [email protected]