School children will soon head back to the classroom; and Texasí annual Sales Tax Holiday will help outfit kids with tax-free clothes, shoes and school supplies they need for the new school year.

“From Aug. 20Ė22, shoppers will pay no state or local sales tax on many school supplies, school backpacks and most childrenís and adultsí clothing and shoes priced at less than $100,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said. “As our economy continues to recover, this tax break will help families get more bang for their back-to-school bucks.”

This year, Combs predicts shoppers will save $59.3 million in state and local sales taxes during the Sales Tax Holiday, which takes place each year on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday in August.

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, a long-time supporter of the tax holiday, commented on the boost the tax holiday gives to Texas businesses.

“The back-to-school season is a great economic driver in Texas. Parents are looking for low prices on the materials their children need for school and businesses are competing for those dollars. The sales tax holiday helps Texas families save money on those items, and because of the increase in shoppers, stores often hire employees to help with the rush. This tax holiday really stimulates the local economies in a variety of ways,” Hinojosa said.

Given the sluggish pace of the economy, Sen. Hinojosa encouraged residents of South Texas and the Coastal Bend to begin budgeting early to take full advantage of the tax holiday coming up two weekends from now.

“I know that families are really sticking to their budgets these days. Knowing that the tax holiday is scheduled for later this month gives people time to set aside money now. It is best to buy as many items as you can during the holiday to get the full benefit of the tax break,” Hinojosa concluded.

The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.

The Texas Legislature has expanded the list of items eligible for the tax break. The following link to the Texas Comptrollerís Web page answers frequently asked questions about the tax holiday. The page also lists items that qualify for the sales tax exemption: http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx98_490/tx98_490.html.