Letter to the Editor

Poor tax policy

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Your editorial about sales tax holidays -- "State, counties, wise to offer sales tax holiday" (July 30) -- encourages consumers to participate in the upcoming sales tax holiday, but your readers should know that holidays aren't really worth celebrating. These holidays are poorly targeted, costly and represent a lost opportunity to get tax fairness right.

A three-day sales tax holiday does nothing to provide relief to low-income taxpayers the other 362 days of the year. Holidays offer too little relief to the families that need it most and they require you to shop when the state says so. Wealthy families benefit from the holiday too and they have an even greater ability to shift their shopping to take advantage of the tax break.

Sales tax holidays also cost money. Missouri can't afford to stop collecting taxes. Revenue lost through sales tax holidays will have to be made up somewhere else, either through painful spending cuts or increasing other taxes.

Well-intentioned policymakers need to understand that sales tax holidays are simply too insignificant, poorly targeted and too temporary to make a state's tax structure more fair. Taxpayers should not accept tax-free weekends as a replacement for real reforms that eliminate unnecessary breaks at the top and solve the problems that will still be there, long after this year's holiday has passed.

KELLY DAVIS, midwest director,

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Whitewater, Wisconsin