“We came really for the pool and the pool was closed”, Jimmy Wilkins told me.
An expected summer tradition not happening today, but Jimmy and Kara Wilkins are making do.
Wilkins says he’s having one “Last run around in the sun. Have a good time and get ready for next week”.
Next week, school starts for most of Acadiana, but the expected summer tradition of a tax-free weekend isn’t happening this year.
Last year, when balancing the state budget lawmakers temporarily suspended a large list of tax cuts to save money.
Among them tax-free holidays.
That might have been a mistake because the state House of Representatives tried to reinstate the tax break this year, but the bill failed to make it through the Senate.
“I don’t see how they can forget about something like that cause you know it benefits a lot of single parents and even teachers”, says Beatrice Benoit. She’s bringing a full house of eight children back to school.
Every year, she has a new shopping list, “Booksacks, they got the tennis shoes, socks, they want the new, neat underclothes, they want their hair done. It’s a lot of things”.
Instead of all that being tax-free, this year she’s paying four-and-a-half-percent sales tax on all of it.
“Parenthood is hard enough as it is”, says Jonathan barber. He works at General Office supply in Lafayette. As a parent of three, he knows the tax-free weekend makes a difference. He says, “That’s something that we could actually go to the store and save money that day and see that okay people we vote for are actually looking out for us.”
So better luck next year right? Wrong. As the law stands now, we might not have another tax free weekend until 2025.
Benoit says, “A lot of us look forward to having it this time of the year”.
Still others like Jimmy and Kara don’t mind, thinking the about five-million-dollars the state is expecting to save could be better used elsewhere with a more year-round impact.
“I can understand why they tabled it for seven years”, says Wilkins. “That makes sense to me”.
The general sales tax holiday will be reintroduced the first weekend of August six years from now unless lawmakers push that date sooner.
Two other tax-free holidays were affected in the seven years suspension. They include a hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday on the last weekend of May and a second amendment sales tax holiday on the first weekend of September.