Governor visits town to promote tax-free holiday

Tony Parra: PNT staff writer

Gov. Bill Richardson said one of the purposes of this weekend’s state tax-free holiday is to keep New Mexico shoppers from driving to Lubbock or Amarillo to do their back-to-school shopping.

Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, sponsored the bill that eliminates taxes on items such as clothing and school supplies.

“It’s good to celebrate the “Back-to-School” holiday in the hometown of the author of the bill,” said Richardson on Tuesday during a stop at Valley Furniture. “This is for every parent in New Mexico. This shows an unwavering commitment to state families. There’s been some confusion about the holiday. The tax-free holiday is for everybody, not just parents.”

Richardson used an example on the savings, saying if parents spent $600, they would save $40 in taxes.
Ingle said retailers and merchants have had the problem on the eastern side of New Mexico of losing customers to Texas stores. He stressed it was important to keep New Mexico dollars instate.

“Our border counties were hit hard by folks going to Texas,” Ingle said about the merchants.
The new tax-free holiday has already changed one Floyd resident’s shopping plans.

Christy McBride said in previous years she would drive to Lubbock or Amarillo to buy clothes and school supplies for her two children.

“The main reason was because of the tax-free holiday,” McBride said. “I would also go there to shop at stores we don’t have in Portales or Clovis like Target.”

McBride said she plans on shopping this weekend in the Clovis/Portales area and may even travel to Roswell to shop at Target.

Initially Richardson wanted the tax-free holiday to be one day, but he said Ingle wanted it to be three days to keep from forcing shoppers to go on one day to do their shopping.

“I’m glad they did it for the whole weekend,” said Portales resident Jerri-Ann Turner, mother of two students. “We don’t have to worry about rushing on one day.”

The tax-free holiday in New Mexico starts on Friday and ends at midnight Sunday.

Nontaxable items include: clothing and footwear under $100, school supplies such as pens and paper that are typically used in a classroom setting – computers under $1,000, assorted computer equipment under $500.

The tax-free holiday will also take place in Texas the same weekend.