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Sales Tax Holiday Has Senate Support Springfield, MO

Back-to-school shoppers would get some tax relief under legislation that has preliminary approval from the Missouri Senate. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

The bill would set up a sales tax holiday for three days in August 2004. Clothing, school supplies and personal computers would be exempt from sales tax. Democratic senator Ken Jacob says it's a way for the government to do something good for taxpayers.

Jacob also says the bill will boost Missouri's economy. But opponents of the bill say it's unclear whether the state would benefit. Democratic senator Wayne Goode says the bill is popular with voters but has little positive impact on state coffers.

But supporters of the bill say it does more than make voters feel good. Jacob says a sales tax holiday will attract shoppers from other states. And while they're in Missouri, Jacob says they'll buy more than the items that are exempt from sales tax.

But even with all those people driving in, Goode says it's doubtful the state will see real benefits. It will cost the state 5 million dollars to provide the holiday. Goode says with or without a sales tax holiday, back-to-school shoppers will buy these items every August.

The bill needs final senate approval before moving to the House for consideration. The legislation has bi-partisan support.