Shop in Geneseo during sales tax holiday

Lisa Depies

Illinois will offer its first-ever state sales tax holiday Aug. 6 through Aug. 15.

The holiday will suspend the state’s 5 percent sales tax on eligible school supplies, clothing and footwear.

The tax exemption applies to clothing and footwear with a retail selling price of less than $100. Computers, computer supplies, PDAs and cameras are not eligible for the sales tax holiday.

Though the state’s 5 percent sales tax will be removed from eligible items, the local sales tax will remain in place.

Geneseo Chamber of Commerce director Rhonda Ludwig said she hopes area residents will stay in Geneseo to shop for back-to-school items during the holiday.

“We want people to think of Geneseo first when doing their shopping,” she said.

“From gym uniforms to paper and pencils, pretty much everything you need for school, you can get in Geneseo. There’s really no reason to go anywhere else,” said Ludwig.

A similar sales tax holiday has been offered in Iowa the past few years, and many local shoppers cross the Mississippi to take advantage of deals in that state.

“It’s been a hard argument to make that people should stay and shop locally when Iowa has offered the sales tax break,” said Ludwig. “This year, we can make a pretty clear argument that you can shop locally, save money on gas and still get the tax exemption.”

Illinois will join 18 other states in the nation which now offer sales tax holidays. Illinois Retail?Merchants Association president David?Vite said every state that offers a sales tax holiday “has generated a positive economic impact to the economy of their state.”

Though other states may offer their sales tax breaks only on weekends, Ludwig said she appreciates the fact that Illinois’ break will be offered for a full week.

“I think it will make a big difference.?This will give people the opportunity to shop after work during the week as well as on the weekend,” she said.

“Illinois has been in the news a lot lately, but nearly everything is negative. It’s nice this is finally something positive,” she said.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Revenue estimate families in Illinois spend between $800 million and $1.2 billion on back-to-school gear for their children.

For more information on the holiday or a complete list of items that qualify for the tax break, visit