It's hard to believe, but area families are already beginning to think about the items that will be needed to send young folks back to school properly equipped and looking good.
According to the National Retail Foundation, a typical family with children in school will spend nearly $600 on back-to-school merchandise. As the inevitable shopping gets under way, consumers are hard-pressed this summer. Many will be inclined to be more frugal than might otherwise have been the case because the economy - even if emerging from recession - is by almost universal consensus something less than robust.
Finding bargains is part of the fun of back-to-school shopping every year. In 2014, doing so will take on increased urgency for many parents and students.
Clothing and shoes are among the necessities that will be on just about everyone's to-buy list. The annual Iowa Sales Tax Holiday that begins today and continues Saturday will help shoppers stretch their precious dollars.
This program is now in its 15th year. It exempts from sales tax certain clothing and shoe purchases with an item price under $100.
Iowa's Legislature launched this two-day tax holiday in 2000. Mike Cormack, a Republican who at that time represented the Fort Dodge area in the Iowa House of Representatives, was the driving force behind the measure. It's a program that especially benefits those lower-income individuals who must make every penny count, but it is a welcome assist to everyone.
Fifteen other states have similar tax holidays. Some extend the sales-tax exemption to a wider range of school-related items such as assorted supplies, computers and books. When the Legislature returns to the Capitol, members should seriously consider broadening the applicability of the sales tax exemption. Outfitting kids for school is becoming ever more expensive and the required purchases go far beyond clothing and shoes. If the policy makes sense, it should reflect the real world of back-to-school costs that shoppers face.
The Messenger reminds readers that the Iowa Sales Tax Holiday is an excellent opportunity to acquire needed items at a saving. Don't miss out on the bargains available today and Saturday.