Tax free holidays proposed by state lawmakers

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - New bills could drive customers to stores throughout the state, eliminating sales tax for two weekends a year.

If approved, customers could buy items like school supplies, electronics and clothes for two days in Aug. and Energy Star items like air conditioners and clothes washers for two days in Nov. tax free.

Republican state assembly Representative Kathy Bernier co-sponsored the bill after questions over potentially lost state tax money were answered.

"Actual tax revenue does increase from this proposal, and that is proven in other states," Bernier said.

She said the estimated $14.5 million that would be lost in sales tax wouldn't be a loss, and expects stores to see more customers.

"The money that the folks save on their school shopping or purchases that they'll turn around and spend again." "Taxes do add up when you start paying taxes on all of those things, so it's a win-win."

"It would be a benefit to those who want to better their education," Johnathan Walker of Eau Claire said.

"Overall, it's a pretty good program, especially for just a limited time," Nicky J. Murphy of Eau Claire said.

Although the bills are sponsored by Republicans, both Bernier and Democratic representative Stephen Smith from Shell Lake said they expect bipartisan support.

"What's better for the state of Wisconsin is not a Democrat issue or a Republican issue. It's good for the people of Wisconsin," Smith said. "There's gotta be some fine tuning, but all in all the idea looks worth exploring and considering."

Bernier says the tax holidays would be a trial run and could easily be removed if there were any major problems.