Tax-free days start today

By Liliana Castillo, Freedom New Mexico

High gas prices have local businesses expecting a busy tax-free weekend in Clovis and Portales.

New Mexico’s fourth annual three-day gross receipts tax holiday begins today. Many school supplies, computers up to $1,000, clothes and shoes up to $100 will be tax free.

A national survey finds the average family with school aged children will spend $594 on back-to-school purchases. A New Mexico family spending that much could save $42 on those purchases this weekend, according to New Mexico State Taxation and Revenue Department.

Ernie Kos, executive director for the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce, said she expects this weekend to be bigger than the previous three years.

“Because it costs so much to travel, why go out of town when you have everything you need here and good deals,” Kos said.

Kos said she has friends who are waiting for the tax-free holiday to buy school supplies.

“School items are going to be on sale, including computers and everything,” she said. “We’re urging residents to shop locally this weekend.”

North Plains Mall General Manager Cindy Banister said the tax-free holiday has always been good for the mall, but this year should be even better because of the price of gas.

“(The holiday) keeps shoppers from going to Texas, but with gas prices the way they are, it will be good for us,” Banister said.

Creighton’s Town and Country in Portales has plenty of extra stock on hand in preparation for the weekend. Owner Leslie Creighton said the store has even marked down some of it to below $100 so it will qualify as nontaxable.

“We have a huge inventory of boots and most marked down to $75 so they qualify for tax-free,” Creighton said.

She said the store also made sure their stock of back-to-school clothes, new fall and late summer items was full.

“We’ve got a good inventory,” she said. “I think high gas prices will keep people here, then they can save gas and money too.”