• 81°

Shop local this weekend

The annual sales-tax holiday that began today and continues tomorrow not only helps Mississippi residents as they prepare for the start of school but also businesses that enjoy the lift in revenue. For the next two days, select individual items that cost $100 or less will not be subject to sales tax.

“It’s been a lackluster summer for a lot of small businesses,” said Ron Aldridge, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “The sales-tax holiday should help people get fired up and in the mood to spend.”

The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, released earlier this month, shows that small-business confidence improved by only a fraction of one percent in June. “Small businesses are in maintenance mode,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Uncertainty is high, expectations for better business conditions are low, and future business investments look weak.”

That’s where the sales-tax holiday comes in, Aldridge said. Parents would go back-to-school shopping regardless, he said, but the tax holiday could also attract cash-strapped shoppers who have delayed buying new clothes and shoes.

“And people need to remember that the tax holiday applies to Main Street as well as the mall,” he said. “Even if you don’t need school clothes, you can save money shopping during the sales-tax holiday, and you can find some great deals and unique merchandise by shopping small.

“When you shop at small, locally-owned businesses, you’re helping your friends and neighbors,” Aldridge said. “You’re supporting the businesses that support our schools and charities and create jobs in our communities.”

The Oxford Square Alliance and its members will be taking advantage of the sales-tax holiday on Saturday with Summer Fest, which includes sidewalk sales and family-friendly entertainment on the lawn of the county courthouse beginning at 9 a.m.

“Combined with the back-to-school sales a lot of stores are having, the sales-tax holiday is going to help people get a bigger bang for their buck,” Aldridge added. “The more we can do to encourage people to shop at small businesses, the more jobs we’ll save, and the faster our economy will grow.”

To learn more about Mississippi’s sales tax holiday, visit the Department of Revenue’s website at dor.ms.gov.