Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
February 20, 2007
Senator Don Barrington Senator
Jay Paul Gumm
Bipartisan Team of Senators Shepherd “Back-to-School”
Sales Tax Holiday to Senate Floor
The authors of a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday
bill say they are pleased the Senate Finance Committee unanimously
approved the measure Tuesday.
Senate Bill 861 is sponsored by Republican Senator Don
Barrington from Lawton and Democratic Senator Jay
Paul Gumm of Durant. The measure would enact a “back-to-school”
sales tax holiday on the same days as the Texas holiday.
Under the measure, clothing and shoes costing less than $100 would
be tax free during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August.
The proposal has died in years past due to intense lobbying by the
Oklahoma Municipal League and city governments.
Barrington said he and Gumm took care of that problem, as their
bill would hold counties and cities harmless. The bill requires
the state to reimburse cities and counties for revenue lost as a
result of the tax-free shopping weekend when compared to the same
month in the year before.
Barrington also pointed to revenue figures from both Texas and
Missouri as evidence that a sales tax holiday actually boosts local
economies during the tax free shopping weekend.
“I am confident the financial impact will be minimal, if
at all,” Barrington said. “The fact is that in both
Texas and Missouri, local revenues held steady or increased because
of greater retail activity during the sales tax holidays.”
Senator Gumm, a longtime advocate of the “back-to-school”
sales tax holiday, said Oklahoma now loses millions of dollars every
year in economic strength to Texas because Oklahomans cross the
border to take advantage of that state’s tax-free weekend.
“There is such a thing as being ‘penny-wise and dollar-dumb,”
Gumm told the committee. “Those who oppose this on the grounds
it might harm local revenues miss the big picture – they are
already being harmed by the thousands of Oklahomans who spend their
money in Texas that weekend.”
“That is economic strength our state cannot afford to lose,
and that we can keep at home if we pass the ‘back-to-school’
sales tax holiday.”
The pair noted that a ‘back-to-school’ sales tax holiday
puts real money back into the pockets of middle class families who
already contribute so much to Oklahoma’s growing economy.
Often, they said, the money saved will be pumped right back into
the economy in the form of additional sales.
The measure also had the support of Oklahoma retailers, who are
at an enormous competitive disadvantage during the Texas sales tax
The two legislators agreed a tax cut like the back-to-school sales
tax holiday is not only a winner for working and middle class families,
but also for small business owners, city governments and the entire
“We are tired of seeing Texas benefit at the expense of Oklahoma
families and retailers in our districts,” Barrington said.
“This bill will allow Oklahoma families and retailers to benefit
from a tax policy that encourages our citizens to spend their hard-earned
money at home.”
Both legislators commented on the bipartisan collaboration to push
the bill through the first step of the legislative process –
noting the importance of working together to move Oklahoma forward.
“Reaching across party lines is crucial in an evenly divided
Senate,” Barrington said. “Pairing up with Senator Gumm,
who also represents a district that borders Texas, certainly helped
push this measure through the finance committee.”
Gumm agreed. “I am grateful to Senator Barrington for his
help in making sure the state does what is right without regard
For more information contact:
Senator Barrington's Office - (405) 521-5563
Senator Jay Paul Gumm's Office - (405) 521-5586