NORMAN — Oklahoma shoppers were out in force Friday and are expected back today and Sunday during the state’s tax-free weekend. Oklahoma began the three-day sales tax moratorium in 2007, several years after Texas hosted such an event.
Texas border retailers were luring shoppers with their no-tax offers so Oklahoma lawmakers followed suit. The Gainesville, Texas, outlet mall was packed with Oklahoma shoppers for many back-to-school seasons.
It’s a promotion that many states have now added. Retailers like it as back-to-school sales make up the second busiest period of the shopping season. Cities and towns don’t really care for it as it takes away sales taxes, their primary source of revenue.
Some studies suggest the shoppers aren’t buying more, they’re just changing when they buy. There has also been discussion on adding items to the list that college-bound students might need. One study suggested exempting lap-top computers and dorm-style furniture.
Shoppers who purchase no-tax items also buy items that are taxed when they are out. It seems to be a boost to those sales and Oklahoma should keep the promotion as long as neighboring states are doing it.