Tax-free weekend kicks off

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  • School supplies that qualify for the tax exemption include:

    Binders

    Book bags

    Calculators

    Cellophane tape

    Blackboard chalk

    Compasses

    Composition books

    Crayons

    Erasers

    Folders

    Glue, paste and paste sticks

    Highlighters ...

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  • School supplies that qualify for the tax exemption include:

    Binders

    Book bags

    Calculators

    Cellophane tape

    Blackboard chalk

    Compasses

    Composition books

    Crayons

    Erasers

    Folders

    Glue, paste and paste sticks

    Highlighters

    Index cards

    Index card boxes

    Legal pads

    Lunch boxes

    Markers

    Notebooks

    Paper

    Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes

    Pencil sharpeners

    Pencils

    Pens

    Protractors

    Rulers

    Scissors

    Writing tablets

    *Eligible items should be for use by elementary or secondary school children and should be priced at less than $100.

    Source: Texas state comptroller website

    Here is a list of clothing items and their exemption status:

    Tax-free

    Baby clothes

    Backpacks for use by elementary and secondary students

    Belts with attached buckles

    Boots - cowboy, hiking

    Caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted

    Coats and wraps

    Diapers - adult and baby

    Dresses

    Gloves

    Gym suits and uniforms

    Hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts

    Hosiery

    Jackets

    Jeans

    Jerseys - baseball and football

    Jogging apparel

    Neckwear and ties

    Pajamas

    Pants and trousers

    Raincoats and ponchos

    Robes

    Shirts

    Shoes - sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking

    Socks

    Shorts

    Suits, slacks, and jackets

    Sweatshirts

    Sweat suits

    Sweaters

    Swimsuits

    Underclothes

    Work clothes and uniforms

    Taxed

    Accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches

    Backpacks - unless for use by elementary and secondary students

    Baseball cleats and pants

    Belt buckles without belt

    Boots - climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders

    Buttons and zippers

    Cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics

    Dry cleaning services

    Football pants

    Golf gloves

    Handbags and purses

    Handkerchiefs

    Hard hats

    Helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports

    Ice skates

    Jewelry

    Laundering services

    Leather goods - except belts with buckles and wearing apparel

    Pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder

    Personal flotation devices

    Rented clothing, including uniforms, formal wear and costumes

    Roller blades and skates

    Safety clothing, glasses

    Shoes - bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf

    Source: Texas state comptroller website

Leslie Hoff had his hands full, following his grandchildren through Target's backpack section.

Jeremiah Hoff, 7, balanced on tip-toe to pluck bags from hooks as his sister, 5-year-old Jaylen Hoff, waffled between two pink bags.

"They wore out their old backpacks, so we're out to get new ones," Hoff said with a shrug.

Tax-free weekend kicked off Friday, offering Texas shoppers a break on school supplies and clothing.

Palacios resident Victoria Duran and her family started at Dillard's and JCPenney but visited other stores as the day wore on. With four grandchildren to shop for, Duran expected to spend about $600 on school clothes.

Shopping for Tera Smith and her family will span the weekend.

Smith, her husband and four children made their way through the Victoria Mall, looking for blue jeans and other clothes, Friday. They planned to buy school supplies later.

The group will spend a few hundred dollars, Smith said, but that's why they shopped this weekend.

"It saves us a little bit of money," she said.

Nationwide, the average family will spend $606.40 on clothes, school supplies, shoes and electronics, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

Consumers weren't the only ones affected by the savings. Stores did their part to prepare.

Children's Place hired staffers to meet the added demand and brought in extra denim, shoes and jackets, said Robyn Cardenas, the store's manager. The company also mailed out coupons valid throughout the sales tax holiday.

Things inside the store were slow through the week, Cardenas said, but the staff expected things to pick up as the weekend went on.

2010 has been a good year for JCPenney and the staff expects a 5 percent to 10 percent gain during the weekend, said Brian Patteson, store manager. He said he expects clothes to sell well, especially since JCPenney recently began selling the Liz Claiborne line.

The store set out more merchandise than usual, beefed up its staff and extended its hours to 11 p.m. throughout the weekend, he said.

Target saw strong school supply sales all week, store manager Mike Yokum said, and many people likely held off clothes shopping until they could get tax savings.

Friday tends to be the store's busiest day, Yokum explained, and Saturday tends to be busy between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. On Sundays, it's hard to know what will happen.

The Buckle's staff began getting back-to-school shoppers last week, but prepared for the weekend with a work night, said Courtney Zimmermann, a full-time sales leader. That included getting mannequins out and arranging merchandise.

The store offers more guys' polos than usual because of school dress codes, she said. The store also has tops for girls to layer under school shirts.

Zimmerman said the weekend was off to a positive start.

"So far, it's been good," she said.


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