LANSING, Mich. — Back-to-school shoppers would get a break on state sales tax for certain school supplies, including clothing and sports equipment, under legislation introduced this week.

The window of opportunity would be limited, running from the second Sunday in August through the following Saturday. Michigan's general sales tax rate is 6 percent.

The concept is not unique. According to taxfoundation.org, 16 states are offering a tax holiday in 2019.

Missouri and Florida are among states that recently held back-to-school sales tax holidays. Florida’s event included computers selling for $1,000 or less.

Supporters say any financial help is welcome.  According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-age children will spend an average of $687 on back-to-school shopping.

Michigan House Bill 4880 covers clothing accessories or equipment, protective equipment, sport and recreational equipment and "any item sold for use in a trade or business.''

Essential clothing covers items priced below $100. Clothing accessories or equipment includes briefcases, cosmetics, handbags, jewelry, non-prescription sunglasses, umbrellas, wallets, watches, wigs and hair pieces.

Protective equipment includes ear and hearing protectors, face shields, hard hats, welder’s gloves and masks.

Student-athletes would get a tax break on numerous items, including spiked shoes, shin guards, ski boots and wetsuits.  

Recreational equipment also makes the cut. Items mentioned specifically are ballet and tap shoes.

The bill and a companion piece, HB 4881, have been referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy.

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