Capital Clicks

Back-to-school tax holiday could include emergency supplies under Senate proposal

By: - March 15, 2021 4:53 pm

A strong storm with straight-line winds, known as a derecho, damaged Rock Creek State Park near Kellogg. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources)

Shirts, shoes, pants. Duct tape, smoke detectors, portable generators.

Back-to-school shopping lists could look a little different under a bill moving through the Iowa Senate.

Senate Study Bill 1240 would add emergency preparedness items to Iowa’s sales tax holiday. The event takes place on the first Friday and Saturday in August, allowing Iowans to purchase articles of clothing or footwear under $100 without paying sales tax.

The proposed bill would expand the sales tax holiday to include household items necessary in an emergency. The $100 maximum would still apply for each item, with the exception of generators and a few other expensive devices.

“This legislation is needed now more than ever,” said Jamie Cashman of the Iowa State Association of Counties. He noted that communities across Iowa had dealt with flooding and other challenges, including the August derecho that tore through Eastern Iowa.

Lawmakers at Monday’s subcommittee meeting said they would consider changing the legislation to extend the sales tax holiday through Sunday and to clarify that contractors could not use the weekend to buy tax-free supplies in bulk. The subcommittee moved the bill to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.