Portales kicks off tax-free weekend

Marc Schoder: PNT staff writer

For the first time in the state’s history, New Mexico shoppers and merchants are doing something that Texans have been able to do for years. Signed into law this past legislative session by Governor Richardson, New Mexicans are getting their first taste of a tax free holiday in the state.

“This weekend has been very good for us,” said Angie Ramirez, manager of Dollar General. “Many school supplies and clothes have been sold this weekend.”

The gross receipts tax holiday, which kicked off statewide on Friday, was created to allow state residents to save money on back-to-school purchases.

Items during the upcoming weekend that are nontaxable include clothing and footwear of $100 or less and school supplies, such as pens and paper. Also included are computers $1,000 or less, as well as assorted computer equipment priced $500 or less.

Ramirez said that many of her customers have asked questions about the tax free holiday. They, and other shoppers, have discovered the tax-free status does not apply to clothing or footwear primarily designed for athletic activity or protective use, or accessories such as jewelry, handbags, wallets, and watches.

Participation in the tax holiday weekend is voluntary for retailers, but most merchants participated and some create sales based on the weekend.

“We have been doing well this weekend,” said Fern Goodson, owner of Bar G Western Wear. “Friday was busier than today has been because of this being a pay week for most.”

Goodson adds that the tax free holiday will probably take a couple of years for people to take advantage of the savings of the holiday like people do in Texas. Texas’s tax free holiday is being held this weekend, according to state of Texas Web site.

“Most of our customers didn’t know about the tax free weekend,” said Goodson.

Sherrye Smith, who was shopping Saturday with her daughter Lindsey at Bealls Department store in Portales, said the two were trying to find deals that would be further discounted by the weekend.

“We are trying to save money on top of other savings that might be had,” said Smith. “We were looking to shop this weekend and stay within our budget prior to knowing about the tax free holiday this weekend.”

Smith added that this weekend being a tax free weekend was an added bonus.

A manager at the Wal-Mart department store in Portales said that sales have been going well.

“A lot of electronics and infant clothing has been selling,” said Brad Powell, an assistant manager at Wal-Mart.
Powell added that this weekend’s shopping traffic in has been higher than usual.

“The tax free weekend is done so well in Texas,” said Powell. “I would like them to consider to adding more items or open to every item to be considered tax free.”