Without the tax-free weekend, parents and teachers struggle
The elimination of the tax free holiday weekend has created an even greater burden on working class parents and teachers looking to stock up for back-to-school. With the average teacher buying $500 in school supplies, many relied on that tax free weekend, and some are now looking to neighboring states to meet their needs.
If you find yourself charged with a crime and can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided to you; if you can’t afford your utility bills, support programs exist; if you can’t work, unemployment assistance is available.
But if you’re a child in North Carolina whose family can’t afford all of your school supplies, well, you’re out of luck.
Out of luck, that is, unless you have a teacher like Carla Brookshire, or one of the thousands of others across the country who spend an average of $500 a year out of their own pockets on the basics needed by every student in every school in every town in America.
As Brookshire’s big red cart quickly fills with notebooks, notecards, post-its, pencils and tissues, she explains that it’s becoming more and more difficult to find everything she needs for what her family budget allows.
“We used to be able to deduct $250 on our taxes [for supplies], but they’ve cut that out,” she said. “And the tax-free holiday helped, but unfortunately they stopped that as well.
N.C.’s sales tax holiday was abolished in 2014, amidst a comprehensive tax overhaul by the Gov. Pat McCrory-led Republicans in the state legislature.
“North Carolinians are paying less taxes all year, not paying more all year and getting a break on a single day — and that includes teachers,” she said.
Jane Hipps, a Waynesville Democrat running for state Senate against Franklin Republican incumbent Jim Davis, feels that eliminating the holiday hurts N.C.’s middle class.
“It’s another example of Republicans prioritizing the wealthy and the well-connected instead of hard-working North Carolina families,” she said.