No tax free weekend for North Carolina this year

GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Ever since its inception in 2002, parents and students alike have taken advantage of tax free weekend each August.

"I do, I do school supplies and I do school shopping for clothes," said Wake Tech student Amanda Watford.

"When I do go it's mostly to buy clothes for daycare and the things he needs till he starts school," explained Garner Mom Sandra Fernandez.

But those parents were shocked when ABC11 broke the news to them that last year was actually the last chance for a tax free weekend in North Carolina.

"I did not, are you serious," exclaimed Fernandez.

"Why," wondered Watford, who went on to say she doubted her mother had heard the news either.

And they weren't the only ones. ABC11 received messages from viewers on social media, wondering if there would indeed be a chance to shop tax free this year. Unfortunately for bargain hunters, the answer is no. Lawmakers eliminated the holiday in the 'tax reform bill' signed into law last year, saying it cost North Carolina on average more than $13 million in lost revenue each year. But now shoppers worry they'll be the ones losing out on savings.

As Yossianna Finol lamented, "Basically I won't be able to save any money. We have to buy clothes, food and everything, and at least that was a saving you expected every year, you know? I think it's ridiculous to tell you the truth."

Meanwhile the North Carolina Retail Merchant Association is hoping to convince lawmakers to reinstate the shopping holiday weekend, especially since it generated sales second only to Black Friday for many businesses. The association is looking at possibly conducting a study to prove to lawmakers that the state still makes money, overall, as shoppers spend money on gas and other non-taxable goods that weekend. Retailers in Florida did something similar and got lawmakers there to reinstate the tax free weekend after it was initially cancelled for two years in a row.

As for finding savings elsewhere, a representative with the Retail Association speculates that many stores may find other creative ways to entice back to school shoppers. Or bargain hunters could always head out-of-state to neighboring South Carolina or Tennessee where the tax free weekend will be taking place next weekend.

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